Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard News Office

Sven Beckert, Laird Bell Professor of American History at Harvard University. Professor Beckert researches and teaches the history of the United States in the nineteenth century, with a particular emphasis on the history of capitalism, including its economic, social, political and transnational dimensions. He just completed Empire of Cotton: A Global History, the first global history of the nineteenth century’s most important commodity. His other publications have focused on the nineteenth-century bourgeoisie, on labor, on democracy, on global history and on the connections between slavery and capitalism. Currently he is at work on a history of capitalism. Beckert teaches courses on the political economy of modern capitalism, the history of American capitalism, Gilded Age America, labor history, global capitalism and the history of European capitalism. Together with a group of students he has also worked on the historical connections between Harvard and slavery and published Harvard and Slavery: Seeking a Forgotten History.

Beckert is co-chair of the Program on the Study of Capitalism at Harvard University , and co-chair of the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History (WIGH). Beyond Harvard, he co-chairs an international study group on global history, is co-editor of a series of books at Princeton University Press on “America in the World,” and has co-organized a series of conferences on the history of capitalism. He is a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow. He also directs the Harvard College Europe Program.

Selected Publications


Sven Beckert

Position: Laird Bell Professor of History

Field: United States

Specialty:Nineteenth century United States history; history of capitalism, global history.

Full Year 2013-14:
- History 2480hf: The Political Economy of Modern Capitalism: Seminar
- History 2950hf: Approaches to Global History: Seminar

Spring 2014:
- History 1457: The History of American Capitalism

Contact Info

Robinson Hall

Room 119

35 Quincy Street

Cambridge, MA 02138



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