Professor of US History, Fundamentals, Social Thought, and the College

Office: Social Sciences Research 504
Phone: (773) 702-8369

Associate Faculty Member, Law School; Faculty Affiliate, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture; Faculty Chair, Law, Letters, and Society; Senior Fellow, Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, the College

Mailing Address

Department of History
1126 E. 59th St., Mailbox 32
Chicago, IL 60637


I am a historian of modern economic life and social thought.  The focus of my research in the past has been the history of the United States, but I am increasingly preoccupied with comparative and global questions.  My first book was a history of risk, Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk in America (Harvard, 2012).  Ages of American Capitalism, a synthetic history of American economic life from English colonization through the Great Recession, is forthcoming from Random House.  My current research is preoccupied with investment as a problem of historical and economic analysis, in particular its psychological dimensions.  Another research interest is corporations.  I am especially happy to advise students working on all topics related to history, economics, social theory, and law.          

Selected Publications:


Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk in America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012.


"Primal Capital," Critical Historical Studies (2019)

"Until the Next Crash," n+1 (January 2019)

"Appreciating Assets: New Directions in the History of Political Economy," American Historical Review 122, 5 (December 2017): 1490-1499.

"Capital as Process and the History of Capitalism,” Business History Review 91, 3 (Autumn 2017): 483-510.

"From Fiscal Triangle to Passing Through: Rise of the Nonprofit Corporation,” in Corporations and American Democracy (Cambridge, 2017)

"Stuck in a Gilded Age," Dissent  (Sum. 2016)

"Altruism and the Origins of Nonprofit Philanthropy." In Philanthropy in Democratic Societies: History, Norms, Institutions, edited by Rob Reich, Chiara Cordelli, and Lucy Bernholtz. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016.

Coauthored with Jeremy Adelman. "The Fall and Rise of Economic History." Chronicle of Higher Education (Dec. 1, 2014).

"Accounting for Profit and the History of Capital." Critical Historical Studies 1, no. 2 (Fall 2014): 171–214.