[Marxism] Fwd: American Capitalism - New Histories | Columbia University Press

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jan 8 15:21:54 MST 2018

American Capitalism
New Histories

Sven Beckert and Christine Desan, eds

Columbia University Press

The United States has long epitomized capitalism. From its enterprising 
shopkeepers, wildcat banks, violent slave plantations, huge industrial 
working class, and raucous commodities trade to its world-spanning 
multinationals, its massive factories, and the centripetal power of New 
York in the world of finance, America has come to symbolize capitalism 
for two centuries and more. But an understanding of the history of 
American capitalism is as elusive as it is urgent. What does it mean to 
make capitalism a subject of historical inquiry? What is its potential 
across multiple disciplines, alongside different methodologies, and in a 
range of geographic and chronological settings? And how does a focus on 
capitalism change our understanding of American history?

American Capitalism presents a sampling of cutting-edge research from 
prominent scholars. These broad-minded and rigorous essays venture new 
angles on finance, debt, and credit; women’s rights; slavery and 
political economy; the racialization of capitalism; labor beyond 
industrial wage workers; and the production of knowledge, including the 
idea of the economy, among other topics. Together, the essays suggest 
emerging themes in the field: a fascination with capitalism as it is 
made by political authority, how it is claimed and contested by 
participants, how it spreads across the globe, and how it can be 
reconceptualized without being universalized. A major statement for a 
wide-open field, this book demonstrates the breadth and scope of the 
work that the history of capitalism can provoke.

Sven Beckert is Laird Bell Professor of History at Harvard University 
and cofounder of the Program on the Study of Capitalism. He is the 
author of Empire of Cotton: A Global History (2014).

Christine Desan is Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard University 
and cofounder of the Program on the Study of Capitalism. She is the 
author of Making Money: Coin, Currency, and the Coming of Capitalism (2014).


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