U.S. Intellectual History Blog

Some Reflections on Beyond the New Deal Order Conference (Sep. 24-25, 2015)

This past weekend, I had the great pleasure of attending the Beyond the New Deal Order conference, held at UC Santa Barbara.

I would like to write up a few thoughts about the event, although I worry about three things: I was only able to attend some of the lectures and symposia (and it is in the nature of the breakout panel format that one must miss a few things); many of the organizers and participants are friends, colleagues, and mentors; and it was an unusually hot weekend and I am therefore not entirely certain that I did not dream up the whole thing, after having been slipped some quaaludes by Andrew Hartman.

A fourth caveat (perhaps the most important of all): the presenters discussed work in progress, and to the degree that pre-circulated papers bear the usual proscription of further citation, I want to be tactful––it would be wrong, I think, to substantially reconstruct an argument in order to critique it in a public forum such as this. The appropriate venue for such critique is either the conference itself or via private correspondence.

So, with all these cards on the table, let’s see if an impressionistic review of the conference is possible. I confess, up front, that I am going to try not to use too many participant names, mostly because I don’t want anyone to feel left out (as always happens when conference recappers get selective) and also because it is so easy to misrepresent arguments when breezing through them. Readers are encouraged to invoke specific papers or panels in the comments section below.

What must be emphasized up front is that the conference was a tremendous success: the assembled intellectuals delivered extraordinarily thoughtful, detailed, and generative papers. Everyone was kind to one another, and question periods, miraculously, did not devolve into the karaoke-for-egomaniacs with which we are all too familiar. Presenters made great efforts to be engaging and dynamic, and even the Great Satan of powerpoint presentation behaved itself.

The impetus for the conference was the anniversary of a classic collection of essays edited by Steve Fraser and Gary Gerstle: The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order, published by Princeton University Press in 1989. We learned that this volume came together in the mid-1980s as New Left veterans Fraser and Gerstle surveyed the rise of Reaganism and lamented the poverty of New Deal historiography: dominated as it then was by Whig great man hagiography and toothless stories of cycles of American liberalism and conservatism. We learned, too, that “order” was chosen carefully from a longer list of contenders (“regime,” “system,” etc), and that this choice of “order” was deeply connected to the volume’s stated goal of providing a ‘historical autopsy” for the period that ran from the election of FDR to the PATCO firings.

This leads us to one of the major fault lines exposed over the course of the conference: division over whether or not the term “New Deal Order” means anything. Or, put in more pragmatic terms, whether or not we believe that there was such a thing as a “New Deal Order” and that “New Deal Order” crystallizes certain historical tendencies and dynamics in a useful way. Thirty or forty years into an anti-foundationalist revolution in the field of history, it is not surprising that some attendees expressed skepticism about the very idea of the “New Deal Order,” nor is it bizarre that some expressed a strong desire for different language (although attractive alternatives were in short supply). Speaking only for myself: “New Deal Order” remains perfectly useful, deployed in the manner intended by Fraser and Gerstle: as a sort of Gramscian master-term, indicating a hegemonic logic of articulation and incorporation, a mode of binding a certain conception of the state to a certain vision of the citizen to a certain understanding of political economy.

Unquestionably, the contributor to Fraser and Gerstle’s volume whose name came up most frequently in the conference discussions was Ira Katznelson. The question of race hovered over the pages of The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order like an unquiet ghost. Here and there, in that volume, one encountered an older left binarization of race and class (or, much worse “race versus class”). Today, in the wake of Katnelson’s When Affirmative Action Was White and Fear Itself, historians seem to have a much better understanding of the mutual entanglement of race and class, a number of coherent and ready-to-hand stories of the policy-historical roots of postwar, government-sponsored, and putatively “colorblind” white supremacy, and the simultaneous and systematic denial of resources and rights to African Americans.

If the discussions of this past weekend are any indication, however, there might be some cause for concern about readerly overemphasis on Katznelson’s idea of the New Deal Order’s “Southern Cage”––the plain electoral reality that the Democratic Party qua New Deal sponsor was also beholden to its reactionary flank and thus unable to deliver American social democracy without further entrenching Jim Crow in the South. To my mind, the great difficulty with this narrative is that it imagines that Northern members of the Democratic coalition that emerged in the Wilson Era were not deeply committed to racism (their arms twisted by Southern demagogues), a reading that badly misinterprets the intellectual history of twentieth century liberalism (and, in particular, fails to read the development of racial ideology in properly evolutionary terms, or to put it bluntly, fails to recognize that whites grew increasingly comfortable with the logic of white supremacy as it was formatted and reformatted by scientists, historians, cultural producers, and public intellectuals).

It also precludes or forecloses the possibility that Jim Crow was a truly national––rather than regional––phenomenon. That argument is currently being fleshed out by a host of brilliant scholars clustered around the field of critical legal history. It is not a simple argument, and probably requires a more complex political-theological framework (as well as an openness to psychoanalytic theory) than is today typical. As this argument develops, however, I think that we will come to see the “Southern Cage” as a metaphor too colored by presuppositions of white Northern liberal virtue and not nearly attentive enough to the New Deal’s engagement with its Southern bloc as a symptom of (as Deleuze and Guattari might say) desire’s desire for its own repression. (Here, we might see “desire”––unfettered development de-linked from a utilitarian ethos––with Georges Bataille as a synonym for John Maynard Keynes’s “general economy”).

The conference featured a good deal of talk about political economy, and the “history of capitalism” turn was everywhere in evidence. With a few exceptions, there was not much discussion of a theme that is quite prominent in Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order: the nature of the Great Depression as an economic crisis. Michael Bernstein’s chapter in the Fraser and Gerstle volume makes the case for the Depression as a unique moment of overlap of secular crisis and cyclical downturn. The upshot of this argument is that a lot of the policy prescriptions developed over the 1930s were akin to putting a cast on the broken arm of a patient who also happens to be suffering from the Bubonic Plague. One of the reasons why this is so hard to grasp is explained by Theodore Rosenof in his study of Keynes and American Keynesians: Keynes himself was a Janus-faced thinker, at once offering a toolkit of countercyclical devices aimed at vitalizing purchasing power and getting the economy going, and at the same time drawn to a long-run and evolutionary vision of capitalism as entropic and prone to stagnation.

In recent years, this question of stagnation has provided the basis for a lively debate between Robert Brenner and Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin. For Brenner, the “New Deal Order” was really just a couple of anomalously “good” decades amid a long-term never-ending secular downturn. Profitability has been falling since the 1920s (a point consonant with Bernstein’s analysis). In such a view, the “capitalism” about which many conference presenters spoke––the “capitalism” that New Deal policy elites might have more robustly propped up and revived, had it not been for pesky conservatives and balanced-budget traditionalists––did not really exist. For Panitch and Gindin, the Brennerian story of long-term profitability decline is ultimately unimportant: because the American state emerged as superintendent of global capitalism, the viability of capitalism was largely delinked from the market. Profitability, in such an arrangement, flowed from the barrel of the gun. Lurking in the debate between Brenner and Panitch/Gindin is a serious disagreement at the level of historical ontology––was the “New Deal Order” an administered economy, with US policy elites at the helm, that had “solved the problem of production,” in Galbraith’s terms, and was now solely committed to distribution; or, as Marxists usually insist, was “capitalism” itself still running the show, acting as a high-pressure weather system causing unpredictable outbreaks of global turbulence that policy elites were forced to contain? This, I think, is the nub of the new argument about the “New Deal Order” and capitalism.

In contrast, the conference did feature a wide array of fascinating talks on what might be called the “metaphysics of prices.” Brilliant studies of inflation and the Federal Reserve foregrounded the peculiar political potency of price fluctuation in the post-WWII era. “Metaphysics” comes in as something more than a poetic flourish because prices are overdertermined from the get-go: we recall the long history of “moral economy” and ideas of the “just price,” while at the same time, we are taught that the “invisible hand” of supply and demand has something to do with why things cost what they cost when we buy them at the store, and at the same time, we know that arcane operations of the Federal Reserve and dramatic activities at the Discount Window mean that prices are actually set by invisible technocrats; and then, of course, we remember our Marx, and recall that prices are actually related to wages, and wages are related to our labor power, to the extent it is calculable in dollars and cents and measured against the time of the working day, and that all of those calculations refer to one final calculation, which is the price tag on the loaf of bread that I need to buy if I am to avoid getting so hungry that I can no longer work.

Within the “New Deal Order,” anxieties about the “metaphysics of pricing” were often projected onto the fetish item of “inflation.” Particularly after Big Labor began to take wages out of bargaining (with the various Steel formulae and Cost of Living Adjustments and 5-year contracts), almost every question of class struggle and political economy began to revolve around inflation. Thus, for twenty years prior to the final event of the crisis of the 1970s following the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, the oil embargo, and the preludes to the Volcker Shock, all sides of the battle over American political economy had begun to dig trenches on inflation’s battlefield. The intense historiographical focus on inflation in evidence at this conference marks another major difference from the concerns of the original Fraser and Gerstle volume. It would certainly be worthwhile to think about the meaning of this interpretive shift.

A surprise of the conference was the apparent absence of any consensus on the “Rise of the Right” that scholars have been probing in detail for the past two decades. There is a strange asymmetry between the volume and uniformly high quality of research on modern conservatism as a crucial force in the fall of the “New Deal Order” and the collective befuddlement about how exactly to thematize and situate the politics of reaction. I have no ready answers as to why this is the case, save for a gnawing sense that some piece of the puzzle must be missing. It strikes me that one of the virtues of many of the contributions to the original volume was a shared commitment to reading and thinking carefully about the nature of the capitalist state––a commitment that rested on a sustained engagement with European Left political theory. The rise of American Political Development (APD) was premised on such an engagement, but it might be fair to say that some of the offshoots of APD have evinced more interest in the methodological novelties developed in the Skocpolian laboratory than big (Marxist) questions about the nature of the capitalist state. It was heartening, to say the least, to witness, at this conference, a number of younger scholars returning to this theoretical work, and applying it to innovative studies of the unpredictable ideological mutations of the postwar regime.

Despite the presence of a number of outstanding scholars of gender and sexuality, it must be said that the conference felt relatively light on discussions of the gendered character of political economy. Race, as we have seen, was a major theme of the conference, but intersectionality was indexed and footnoted more than it was brought into the foreground. Acknowledgment of the criminal persistence of redlining, say, is not coextensive with a deep confrontation with the ways in which property bleeds into propriety, owning into being. A conference such as this probably ought to have had more speakers with more to say about the intimate correlation of social democracy and state repression, about the tendency of American liberalism to embrace the credo (to borrow a phrase from Chandan Reddy) of “freedom with violence.”

Recalling that The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order framed itself as a “historical autopsy” we might conclude by asking: what sort of “historical autopsy” of the last 25-30 years did the participants in the Beyond the New Deal conference conduct? What were the results? What lividity patterns pointed to what sorts of traumas and injuries?

I think the answers are still coming in, but if I was forced to summarize, I would say something like: what was most evident, at the level of gestalt, in the Beyond the New Deal conference was the perplexity of scholars (largely of the Left, but also including some centrist liberals) at the nastiness and ferocity of the politics of the last 30 years. Over and above any ideological questions, methodological preferences, or interpretive tendencies, we are struck by just how continually unprepared we are for the turn to sadism, violence, and paranoid fantasy, as well as the superficiality, anti-intellectualism, and cynicism of the political class (across the party divide) that has emerged in the wake of the Reagan Revolution. It is tempting to look for historical antecedents, but I am not sure there even is a precedent for this sort of stunned bewilderment on the part of intellectuals in the face of the ordinary operation of the political and economic machinery of the global system. In the end, I think that will seem prophetic about The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order was the way it captured the tang and feel of a generation of intellectuals deeply troubled by the direction in which developmental signs seemed to point. If there is any hope (as the phenomena then on the horizon have, indeed, come to poisonous fruition) it might rest with the shift––subtle but unmistakably underway––from a position of unsettlement to one of lucid adjustment to the “new normal.” Perhaps from such a position, in dialogue across the generations, we can understand where we’ve been and be of service to those who are trying to get us where we want to go.

15 Thoughts on this Post

  1. Very interesting post (may have to come back at some point for a second reading). The ref. to Theodore Rosenof and Keynes as “Janus-faced thinker” is one thing I might track down.

    On a quick reading, one question does occur to me: how does the designation of the period from c.1945/1950 to c.1973 as a more-or-less discrete “golden age” of capitalism fit into the debate between Brenner and Panitch/Gindin that you talk about? Even if profitability was declining since the ’20s, the ‘trente glorieuses’ were pretty good as far as macroeconomic indicators (e.g., wages, prices, growth) are concerned. Hobsbawm’s discussion of this period in The Age of Extremes, which relies to some extent on S. Marglin & J. Schor, eds., The Golden Age of Capitalism (1990), doesn’t track exactly with either the Brenner or Panitch/Gindin positions as you describe them here (though there are probably some points of overlap). Of course the books I’ve just mentioned are more than 20 years old, and I suppose one answer would be “historiography moves on.” Anyway, thought I’d throw this out, fwiw.

    • Thanks so much for this comment. I appreciate your challenge re: the “trentes glorieuses.” There are genuine empirical disputes about macroeconomic health, although I think that it must be recalled that a lot of historians are making educated guesses. Countries only began to collect and track macroeconomic data very recently, and even that material is often colored by ideological agendas. Hobsbawm was working with a fairly orthodox model of growth, and I think that more recent comparative research points in a different direction. I am thinking of Alessandro Stanziani, Rules of Exchange: French Capitalism in Comparative Perspective, Eighteenth to Early Twentieth Centuries (2012). Stanziani points to the late development of French capitalism which, combined with the better literature on the pathologies of German capitalism between WWI and WWII, produces a picture more consistent with the Brennerian story than the Panitch and Gindin one. At the same time, it is fair to ask: does structural weakness really matter? Particularly from a Polanyian or Foucauldian perspective, it might be said that the rise of “the social” as an autonomous force renders obsolete the older Smithian model of the economic as (to borrow a phrase from French Marxism) determinant in the last instance.

      To this inquiry, of course, we must add the questions of imperialism and colonialism, as well as the persistence of “traditional” genderings of political economy at home: all macroeconomic calculations must correct for the extractive or “accumulation by dispossession” strategies of metropole vis-a-vis colony, and the presumption of women as superintendents of domestic reproduction of capitalist social relations. I am not a numbers guy, but, as I understand it, once one stops “correcting” for such phenomena, all bets are pretty much off.

      In any event, thanks again for your always-stimulating comments, and I hope this at least partially speaks to the concerns you raise.

  2. Great summary. One shift that strikes me in the historiography today is a recognition that the New Deal was global–though there is disagreement, of course, on what that means and how to study it. I wondered if/how participants addressed foreign-domestic exchanges, international dimensions, etc.

    • Thanks so much for this. Yes, the “global” turn in New Deal studies was very much in evidence, to everyone’s edification. At least as far as the conference suggested, that turn has so far borne the most fruit in two areas: the study of transnational policy coalitions, along the lines mapped by Daniel Rodgers and Angus Burgin; and the study of the exportation of the New Deal idea a la Borgwardt and De Grazia. The question now seems to be where the transnational story is heading. One exciting area that I think will be opening up is the further explication of transnational links among the re-emergent Left intelligentsia (Cody Stephens’s presentation pointed in such a direction, as did Burgin’s, and Ben Feldman’s). For the Italian, French, Latin American and East Asian Lefts, post-1956, the New Deal model really mattered. Not necessarily as an inspiration nor necessarily as an evil, but central, in any event, to analyses of Fordism and post-Fordism, automation and technoscience, “war as the health of the state” and monopoly or state capitalism. Very excited to see where research in this area leads!

      • Another note on this point, Stuart, was the paper by Paul Kramer (who also gave your work a shoutout in the Q and A).
        Paul gave a wonderful paper on the New Deal Order and empire that highlighted how the NDO coalesced with (1) militarized social citizenship, (2) corporate empire, and (3) excludable labor.

        Also on that panel was Kiran Patel, whose excellent paper focused on a number of the transnational policy connections for expanding the vantage point of the NDO.

  3. Thanks so much for this excellent set of reflections and summaries! The lucidity with which you’ve tracked these trends as they’ve developed/are developing is so valuable.

    I find what you say about inflation’s new importance in the scholarship particularly fascinating. But I wonder whether the interest in it is a little historically foreshortened. You say, “Particularly after Big Labor began to take wages out of bargaining… almost every question of class struggle and political economy began to revolve around inflation.” But isn’t this defining the class struggle rather narrowly, as exclusively urban? (Not that I’m saying you’re doing this: I’m wondering what the scholarship that you describe is doing.) Agrarian politics had been centered around the question of inflation for many decades by the time of the New Deal, after all. Perhaps I am misreading your recapitulation of this new scholarship, but if the argument is that the political economic battlefield had shifted from wages to inflation, that seems to me to be missing a crucial chunk of the story.

    • Andy, thanks so much for this question. The new scholarship on inflation does, more or less implicitly (perhaps more explicitly in the work of, for example, Tim Shenk and David Stein) see the advent of Keynesianism as a technology of model-building and an apparatus of explanation as transforming the inflation debate of earlier years. Whereas once wages and prices assumed the contradictory role of fixed by nature and subject to market forces over which centralized government agencies had no control, the “new normal” of the post-WWII era was that of a managed economy, in which the Fed (theoretically at the discretion of the executive, but independent since the early 50s) was empowered to set rates of inflation (and thus to determine acceptable levels of unemployment/decide how much weakening of purchasing power the working class would grit its teeth through). So I do think that’s a new conjuncture, and scholars are correct to treat it as such.

      The question of all of those proletarians left out of this story (and the New Deal Order itself)–that remains very pressing, and we still have not fully reckoned with it, to say the least.

      • That makes a lot of sense, and I was undoubtedly overstating the continuity. But I would argue that, while there remained a mystification of wages and prices as natural forces outside the reach of federal intervention, the money supply certainly was well understood by agrarian radicals as very much an artifact of federal macroeconomic control. Similarly, struggles over whether and to what extent there should be federal (or state-level) fixing of railroad shipping rates seem to me to be very much grounded in the politics of inflation. Those to me seem to be two fairly significant earlier instances of class struggle occurring largely over inflation, not wages or commodity prices. But perhaps they had little influence over the New Deal/postwar economists Tim and David are looking at?

      • Hi Andy and Kurt–thanks as always for the questions and engagement. First, I’m no expert on the 19th C., but I’ve wanted to learn more about the inflation debates of the late 19th C, especially since Robin Einhorn and I discussed it years ago. If you have suggested readings, PLEASE send them my way, especially if it pertains to the pro-inflation commodity producers.

        That said, and I didn’t get into this in my paper, but it undergirds how I think about these questions: post-Bretton Woods, inflation of the dollar takes on new import, since it could imperil the entire Bretton Woods arrangement. For some of the thinking here, I’m indebted to Panitch and Gindin, who note that inflationary fears provoked by moderately full employment and empowered labor unions would be “the central contradiction of Keynesianism in the postwar era.” Or, as General Electric’s Charles E. Wilson put it in a 1951 speech, “if inflation gains on us during this period, Stalin will have won a tremendous victory…without firing a single shot.”

        Partly due to this, I argue, the Fed post-1951 is quite hawkish on inflation, only sort of letting up during the Vietnam War under immense pressure from LBJ (until recently that is). So I’d hypothesize, that something different is happening in this moment, with new implications. I do not suggest, however, that there’s a shift in the economic battlefield from wages to inflation. Instead, fighting wage growth (and so-called “cost-push” inflation) for steel and autoworkers in particular was a core goal of the Fed during the late 1950s, the period that I emphasize in my research. I’d love to be able to better trace the continuity and divergences between the moments you bring out and the late 1950s.

  4. Kurt, Fascinating summary of some key trends at the conference. Following Jeff Cowie’s comments, I think it would have been interesting to compare the “New Deal Order” with what Michael Denning has called “The Cultural Front.” I also was surprised that most of the panels that I saw emphasized the “fall” rather than the “rise” part of the NDO. Finally, the emphasis on internal tensions and contradictions was great but I was expecting more on opponents of the NDO.

    • Thanks so much for this comment. I agree heartily that the Cultural Front shadowed much of the talk of the NDO, and that more explicit consideration of their overlapping and diverging fortunes would have been a great addition.

      The advantage of the Cultural Front as frame, I think, is that one can connect political economy to mass culture in all sorts of tangled ways: was the premise that CEO’s should not make more than 6x base salary of employees connected (to choose some random examples) to major league baseball retaining its urban and plebeian form, to the intimacy of the early 50s electric Nashville country recordings, to the impossibility (as CLR James argued in American Civilization) of a successful film narrative in which workers are evil and the bosses the good guys? Can we talk about those sorts of things at a conference like this? And if we can’t, maybe we should figure out a way to change that.

      I agree, too, that anti-NDO forces were not given much attention–here, I would include not only Taft Republicans, the Chamber of Commerce, and Mont Pelerin types, but also some figures who appeared in the F/G volume–centrist IR thinkers like Sumner Slichter, who popularized the notion that workplace discontent was always the consequence of psychological maladjustment or the presence of subversive rabble rousers.

      What I would love to hear further thoughts about: is the pro-NDO/anti-NDO story a set of arguments about the state in its very state-ness (as Fred Block and others might argue), or is it a story of one vision of robust state capacity against another? The latter seems to be the interpretation that carried the day at the conference, but I wonder if we are overlooking various strains of rabid anti-statism on the far right as well as principled hostility to the regulatory, warfare, and surveillance state on the part of anarchist-leaning New Lefties.

      • Kurt, first, thanks for this great writeup and your comments expanding on it. Your last sentence here made me wonder how, if at all, the New Left fit into the work presented at the conference. As you say, the idea of the NDO comes from historians who had passed through the New Left. Is there still a sense in which the framing of these questions comes out a generation’s biographical experience? How should we see the New Left in relation to the New Deal order: constituent, loyal opposition, or solvent? For Denning, the New Left belongs to a different, postmodern (in his somewhat idiosyncratic usage) moment than the cultural front, but clearly continuities can be identified as well.

  5. Thank you for this thoughtful reflection. I too found the conference stimulating (as well as intense). I was impressed by the sophistication of political science and legal history shaping the overall discussion, and at the same time a little dismayed that the contributions of scholars of transnational history and social movements seemed a bit peripheral to the numerous formulations of the institutional arrangements that shaped the New Deal.

    I would like to push back against a few ideas in this post:

    1) I don’t know if the “Southern Cage” metaphor is as problematic as presented here, when considered in relation to black electoral power rather than white Northern racism. Black electoral power outside the South was sufficient to survive Cold War repression and compel politicians in both the Democratic and Republican parties to give lip service to civil rights and in some cases provide concrete if limited reforms. The New Deal accommodated (and, as Sugrue and others argue, deepened) racial segregation, but its Southern wing also depended upon disenfranchisement. That is part of what makes the cage regionally distinct. Though I can see how this can be exaggerated.

    2) Katznelson’s work was synthetic rather than completely original, and there’s a much richer tradition before and after his book of linking race/ class to the New Deal order. After all, Melvin Oliver opened the conference itself. The fact that there were so few scholars of color at the conference, and so few references to this broader scholarship beyond Katznelson and Sugrue’s work, was a problem that a number of people noted in casual conversation and some discussed during the one plenary discussion on race and the New Deal.

    3) I don’t think it is quite accurate to say that scholars at the conference were “struck by just how continually unprepared we are for the turn to sadism, violence, and paranoid fantasy, as well as the superficiality, anti-intellectualism, and cynicism of the political class (across the party divide) that has emerged in the wake of the Reagan Revolution.” I think there was a palpable sense of grief from many scholars there– particularly those who had been New Left activists, and the contributors to the original Rise and Fall book. But I didn’t get the sense that people were “unprepared” to discuss this topic. Much of the discussion of the “fall” of the New Deal order centered on shifts in global capitalism and the declining power of organized labor, including the inflation discussion you include above. But personally, I found those scholars who emphasized the role of militarism/ empire, patriarchy, and racism as constitutive of the New Deal order best prepared to explain its dissolution. Indirectly, I think, they offered fairly clear explanations for why American politics seems to now be dominated by discourses of white male resentment.

  6. Thanks for these great comments.

    Agree completely that Katznelson is technically correct on the “Southern cage.” The problem (if there is one, would lie with readers who want to stage that story in such a way as to avoid a confrontation with the complexities of New Deal liberalism/northern left-liberals.

    And you are right, too, that the sense of hurt puzzlement was not manifest in scholarly aporias–in fact, this sentiment seems to have motivated volubility, as you mention, rather than pained silence. But I thought that I picked up something like a wavering sense of disorientation… perhaps a long-delayed return of the repressed: (1980, 1989, 2000, 2001, 2007-08) these traumatic moments of New Deal defeat, never properly coped with.

    As for the general racial politics stuff: it was certainly discussed, sotto voce, and sometimes addressed by panelists, as you point out. There was good stuff at the conference on the New Deal Order’s racial unconscious, but my preference would have been for much more of that kind of thing.

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