Visiting Scholar David K. Seitz presents talk on contesting neoliberalism

Visiting Scholar, Sexuality Studies and the Centre for Feminist Research, David K. Seitz will present a talk on “Contesting Neoliberalism, Relinquishing Respectability: ‘Working Families,’ Wisconsin, and What’s Left” on March 1 from 1 to 2:30pm in 626 Kaneff Tower.

David K. Seitz

The presentation is hosted by York’s Centre for Feminist Research and Sexuality Studies, and will be introduced by Sexuality Studies Coordinator Allyson Mitchell.

The talk will begin by exploring a few short weeks in February 2011, when global attention turned to Madison, Wisconsin where more than 100,000 people took to the streets to protest Governor Scott Walker’s harshly anti-union austerity measures.

On the heels of the Arab Spring, and just before the dawn of the Occupy Movement, the Wisconsin protests inspired many progressive-leftists as a refreshingly bold “no” to neoliberalism. Yet, in the past six years, Walker has cruised to two state-wide electoral victories, and in 2016, the longtime union stronghold state was key to the de-industrialized bloc that catapulted Donald Trump to the presidency.

What happened? Rather than retreading exhausted and unproductive debates about putative impasses between class politics and identity politics, this paper suggests that a careful, intersectional analysis of the cultural politics of neoliberalism in Wisconsin points to the limits of liberal, and even progressive-left, investments in respectability politics, broadly conceived. In particular, Seitz tracks the trope that suffused the imagery generated by Democratic Party and mainstream union activists and ordinary people: the “working Wisconsin family”.

Seitz is a Visiting Scholar in Sexuality Studies and the Centre for Feminist Research at York University. He is a lecturer in Sexual Diversity Studies, Women and Gender Studies and Human Geography at the University of Toronto. His writing appears in Society and Space and the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.

The event is co-sponsored by Sexuality Studies Program, York University.

Light refreshments provided. This event counts towards GFWS seminar requirements. To RSVP, email juliapyr@yorku.ca.

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