Dr. Alison Collis Greene recently discussed her book No Depression in Heaven: The Great Depression, the New Deal, and the Transformation of Religion in the Delta (Oxford University Press, 2015) on the Monthly Review podcast Money on the Left. Greene is Associate Professor in the Candler School of Theology and Associated Faculty in the History Department. Read the summary of the episode below and find both the audio and transcript at “No Depression in Heaven with Alison Collis Greene.”
In this episode of Money on the Left, we speak with historian Alison Collis Greene about her book No Depression in Heaven with an eye toward contemporary debates around the Green New Deal. Subtitled The Great Depression, the New Deal, and the Transformation of Religion in the Delta, Greene’s book critiques what she calls the “myth of the redemptive depression” which, particularly in the American south, eroded the legacy of the original New Deal by affirming regressive fantasies of self-help and individualism.
Many on the left today see the “New Deal” framing of contemporary social and ecological politics as a concession to liberal nostalgia. However, No Depression in Heaven reminds us that right-wing and religious dismissals of the New Deal played a key part in rolling back government provisioning under neoliberalism. From our perspective, then, the original New Deal remains a crucial rhetorical battleground for the future of American political economy.