Marxism and Neoliberalism Today

deadline for submissions: 
February 27, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
The University of Florida Marxist Reading Group
contact email: 

CFP: Annual University of Florida Marxist Reading Group Conference

“Marxism and Neoliberalism Today”


Marxist Reading Group, University of Florida

April 8-10, Gainesville, FL


Keynotes: Rachel Greenwald Smith (St. Louis University), Mitch Murray (Emory University), Patricia Ventura (Spelman College)


In our current moment, neoliberal capitalism has pervaded all aspects of our private and public lives. From the privatization of instructions of health and education to the ever-growing wealth gap between billionaires and the masses, ours is a time wherein neoliberalism reigns supreme. The rise of the neoliberal university necessitates moving away from the prioritization of open-access education in favor of market-driven educational models, seeking new means for specialization and individualization in accordance with ever-changing consumer demands. Moreover, neoliberalism has wrought environmental catastrophe as deregulated corporations contribute to climate change and resource extraction. Modes of resistance, as theorists such as Rachel Greenwald Smith and Mark Fisher argue, end up becoming reinscribed within neoliberal ideology itself, and radical solutions to ending neoliberalism are replaced by centrism and compromise.


Wishing to reaffirm Rachel Greenwald Smith’s 2021 book On Compromise: Art, Politics, and the Fate of an American Idea, the Marxist Reading Group at the University of Florida is holding its annual conference with these issues in mind. More broadly, the MRG is interested in challenges relating to everyday conflicts and compromises in the age of neoliberalism. This conference seeks to investigate the ways in which Marxist praxis can be practiced and reinforced within the situated politics and policies of today, as well as the potential for the creation of new Marxist spaces and collectives in the era of neoliberalism. While we are particularly interested in the contemporary moment, contributions exploring alternative historical accounts are also encouraged. The MRG invites scholars of any discipline to clarify and explore questions such as: How does neoliberalism create and/or negate opportunities for Marxist praxis, and do priorities concerning individualization and privatization create and/or negate opportunities for collectivity in the contemporary? How might particular institutional challenges, concerning topics such as bureaucracy and corporatization, create new avenues for neoliberal ideology and policy, and how can this be changed or challenged? How have changes concerning job training models in universities created new limitations and challenges in academia? How has the neoliberal university contributed to a more recent general cultural emphasis on anti-intellectualism?


Some potential paper topics may include: 

  • Neoliberalism and contemporary fiction/poetry/drama/children’s literature
  • Neoliberalism and critical theory
  • Representations of neoliberalism in popular culture (film and TV)
  • Neoliberalism and environmental issues
  • Socialist political strategy and the problems of late capitalism
  • Neoliberalism and individualism
  • Theories of postmodernism
  • Neoliberalism and its implications for class/race/gender/sexuality/disability
  • Histories of capitalist development
  • Capitalism and spatial theory
  • Pedagogy within the neoliberal university
  • Neoliberalism during moments of crisis (opportunities for capitalization)
  • The relationship between liberalism and neoliberalism
  • The relationship between neoliberalism privatization/individualization and collective action
  • The privatization of public higher education and its implications for Marxist praxis
  • Performance-based budgeting and its implications
  • Flexible labor and the dramatic increase of adjunct faculty members.


The conference will feature a keynote address from Rachel Greenwald Smith (, whose work focuses on the ideology of neoliberalism in literature and culture. Other speakers may be announced.


Please submit an abstract of up to 250 words with 4-5 keywords for a 15-20 minute presentation, along with contact information, to by February 18. We will also consider panel proposals, but we do ask that panelists represent multiple institutions and provide a brief description and rationale along with the panelists’ abstracts. Please indicate any a/v requests.  Also let us know if you have participated in past MRG conferences or if you are a UF-MRG alumnus. Authors of accepted presentations will be notified by March 4.


The conference will be held at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL on the weekend of April 8-10. We currently plan to hold the conference in person, but we will let attendees know if we decide to hold the conference virtually.


For questions concerning the conference, please contact us at


For more information, visit


Tags: Cultural studies and historical approaches, graduate conferences, interdisciplinary, popular culture, theory, twentieth century and beyond