NYAS @ Wenner-Gren: 9/24

The 24th of September marks the opening of the New York Academy of Sciences’ monthly anthropology section lecture series for the 2012-13 season. To start off a program of talks that we hope will be just as successful as last year’s, we welcome Dr. Sandra Morgen of the University of Oregon to discuss political anthropology and trace the genealogy of American antitax ideology.


This public lecture explores how the concepts of “deKeynesinization” and “taxpayer identity politics” help make sense of the contours and resonance of right-wing politics in the U.S. today. The velocity of Tea Party activism that astonished many observers in 2009 was less surprising to scholars whose research has examined the history and/or varieties of anti-tax activism in the U.S. since the 1970s. I situate the political salience and production of taxpayer resentments and identities in the larger agenda of deKeynesinization. I use this concept to highlight and theorize the destructive dimensions of neoliberalization, i.e., the political project of undermining the assumptions, policies and institutions of the liberal, Keynesian state. Drawing on my and others’ research on tax politics, and on battles over public employee compensation and collective bargaining rights, I demonstrate how both the subject of taxes and taxpayer subjectivities provide valuable lenses through which to understand contested meanings and values about social provisioning, the public sector, and the State in contemporary politics.

As always, the 7:00 PM lecture will be hosted at the Wenner-Gren Foundation offices, preceeded by reception at 6:00 PM. The lecture is free to attend, but registration is required.