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Nancy K. MacLean
Duke University (Durham, NC 27705-4677)
A History of Market-Based Policies in the United States

Suppose that something long understood as an ending was also a beginning. What if national stories told in isolation from one another were in fact connected, and in ways that illuminate core issues of our time? The Privatization Project shows that Massive Resistance to the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision was the chrysalis from which the market first regained popularity over government as the best decision-maker and provider for common needs. Through an accidental discovery followed by extensive archival and other original research, I have unearthed ties between states’ rights activists and leading free-market economists that emerged in the late 1950s and traced their subsequent history of alliance building with sometimes surprising partners over the ensuing half century. Where existing works on neoliberalism begin in the 1970s with crises of profitability and public finance, my work excavates the pre-history of early and ongoing anti-democratic motives and goals.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
U.S. History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2013 – 6/30/2014