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I am a historian of the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with a particular emphasis on the emergence of industrial capitalism. My recently-published book Brahmin Capitalism: Frontiers of Wealth and Populism in America's First Gilded Age (Harvard University Press), is a finance-driven and urban-centered account of the transformation of American capitalism at the end of the nineteenth century. It explores how the United States shifted from its former position in the world economy as an exporter of agricultural commodities – cotton, above all – to an industrial nation and imperial power on the world stage. In particular, the book analyzes the creation of an interconnected national market, which has long been viewed as immutable and technologically-driven, as a contentious and highly malleable political project. It more generally examines economic change as politically constituted and deeply ideological, transcending conceptual divides between economics, politics, culture, and society. I explore similar themes in my article, “To Coddle and Caress These Great Capitalists: Eastern Money, Frontier Populism, and the Politics of Market Making in the American West,” which has appeared in the February 2017 issue of the American Historical Review.
I have also published in the Journal of American History, Business History Review, Enterprise and Society, Journal of Cold War Studies, Zmanim Historical Journal, and Common-place. I edited and wrote the introduction for a special issue on the history of American capitalism for the Journal of Gilded Age and Progressive Era (July 2016) and wrote a chapter on the "History of American Capitalism" for the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to the Gilded Age and Progressive Era: The Making of Modern America (February 2017).
My new project, tentatively entitled "The United States as a Developing Nation" interrogates the integration of vast territories of what became the American West into the economic orbit of the United States. With renewed attention to the core concerns of political economy, it aims to position the Western U.S. comparatively alongside other global peripheries – in Russia, Egypt, India, and Latin America – that were aggressively pulled in this period into the world economy.
I have received several grants in support of my research, including fellowships from Cornell University, the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, School of Historical Studies at Tel Aviv University, Huntington Library, New York Public Library, New England Regional Consortium, Harvard Business School, Whiting Foundation, Thomas Cochran Fund in Economic and Business History, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.