Capitalism has served as an engine of growth, a source of inequality, and a catalyst for conflict in American history. While remaking our material world, capitalism’s myriad forms have altered—and been shaped by—our most fundamental experiences of race, gender, sexuality, nation, and citizenship. This series takes the full measure of the complexity and significance of capitalism, placing it squarely back at the center of the American experience. By drawing insight and inspiration from a range of disciplines and alloying novel methods of social, political, and cultural analysis with the traditions of labor and business history, our authors take history “from the bottom up” all the way to the top.
Those interested in publishing in the series should contact Bridget Flannery-McCoy, editor at Columbia University Press (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a proposal containing a brief description of the content and focus of the book, a table of contents or chapter outline, literature review and market analysis, and professional information about the author, including previous publications.
- Reviewed by Ross Bassett in The Journal of American History: “Business is not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about the countercultural movements of the 1960s. But in From Head Shops to Whole Foods Joshua Clark Davis makes a compelling case that the businesses he examines provide a useful vantage point on the counterculture while also allowing a new perspective on today’s business.”
- Reviewed in The Metropole Blog: “[From Head Shops to Whole Foods] makes a valuable contribution to the study of American capitalism and consumerism. It reveals some well-worn paths in American history but in new ways, while also establishing some of the ironic origins of today’s corporate citizens.”
- Reviewed in The Sixties: “… Josh Davis brilliantly complicates the radical relationship to American capitalism in From Head Shops to Whole Foods.”
- Davis details the FBI’s war on Black independent bookstores for The Atlantic
- Davis sits down with Julie Hawks of Black Perspectives to talk about the story behind the book.
- Lauer on Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal
- Reviewed in Publishers Weekly: “Mass surveillance of the American public has grown in technological sophistication and scope, but it isn’t a new phenomenon, and it’s being driven by capitalist enterprise rather than the government, argues Lauer, a professor of media studies, in this fascinating study of the credit-rating industry’s central role in creating the “modern surveillance society”… A thorough, enlightening, and long-overdue contribution to the field.”
- Named a Notable Privacy and Security Book of 2017 by Technology | Academics | Policy
- Lauer speaks with Adam Webb-Orenstein for Platypus – The Castac Blog.
- Reviewed by Sarah E. Igo in The American Historical Review: “Crisply written, deeply researched, and forcefully argued, [Creditworthy] offers a reckoning with the informational infrastructure of modern capitalism, now a century and a half old. . . . In illuminating how the credit industry devised rules, formulas, and laws to tame this problem and also to profit from it, he has crafted a penetrating prehistory of our present dilemmas about data surveillance.”
- “Few historical subfields are more important and timely than the critical history of capitalism. In this volume, Sven Beckert and Christine Desan have assembled cutting-edge work on topics as diverse as slavery, credit, insurance and risk, financial crises, race, gender, agriculture, and law and regulation. These essays combine chronological breadth, analytical depth, and geographic scope, linking the micro and macro, the local and the global. Essential reading.” — Thomas J. Sugrue, New York University
- “American Capitalism represents the coming of age of a field of historical research. Rarely, in any field, has one volume featured the work of so many talented and accomplished historians. Each chapter breaks fresh ground and proposes new lines of inquiry. The editors have assembled a landmark and agenda-setting book that no student of economic life in the United States can afford to ignore.” — Jonathan Levy, University of Chicago
- Read an excerpt here in Working Knowledge.
We are pleased to announce the following forthcoming books in the Columbia Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism series:
The Thread: Slavery, Cotton and Atlantic Finance from the Louisiana Purchase to Reconstruction, by Kathryn Boodry
Door-to-Door Capitalism: Direct Selling in America from the New Deal to the Internet Age, by Jessica Burch
Brain Magnet: RTP and the Idea of the Idea Economy, by Alex Sayf Cummings
The Promise of Full Employment in the New Deal Era, by Michael Dennis
Black Markets: The Slaves’ Economy and Capitalist Enterprise in South Carolina, by Justene Hill Edwards
Feminism at Work: Women, Gender, and Success in Corporate America, by Allison Elias
The Invincible Daughters of Commerce: The Independent Order of St. Luke and Black Women in Finance, 1900-1950s, by Shennette Garrett-Scott
- Garrett-Scott writes about Minnie Geddings Cox and the first black-owned insurance company in Mississippi
Building Suburban Power: The Business of Exclusionary Housing Markets, 1890-1960, by Paige Glotzer
- Glotzer writes about the transnational history of US housing segregation for Public Seminar
- Explore interactive maps showing connections between British investment and segregated suburban development
Legislating Jim Crow Neighborhoods: Race, Class, and Campaigns for Residential Segregation in Early-Twentieth-Century North Carolina, by Elizabeth Herbin-Triant
Buying Gay: How Physique Entrepreneurs Sparked a Movement, by David Johnson
Empire and the Afterlife of Slavery, by Justin Leroy
- Leroy discusses his public lecture at the Whitney Museum of American Art with Public Seminar
- Leroy was winner of the Allan Nevins Prize from the Society of American Historian
Family Capital: Yankee Kinship Networks and the Shaping of the Global Economy, by Rachel Tamar Van
When Good Government Meant Big Government: The Quest to Strengthen the American State, 1918-1933, by Jesse Tarbert
Devin Fergus is Arvarh E. Strickland Distinguished Professor of History and Black Studies at University of Missouri. His research focuses on the historical mechanisms driving contemporary inequality. His first book, Liberalism, Black Power, and the Making of American Politics, 1965-1980 (Georgia, 2009) was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Book. Fergus is finishing his second book, Land of the Fee, which examines the rise of consumer finance fees and its impact on the wealth gap in America since the 1970s. Fergus is also guest editor of “Banking without Borders: Culture and Credit in the New Financial World” for Kalfou, a journal published by Temple University Press. This special issue examines the impact four decades of financial deregulation have had on race, gender, immigration, culture, and class. He received his Ph.D. in American history from Columbia University.
Louis Hyman is Associate Professor of History at the ILR School of Cornell University. Raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Hyman attended Columbia University, where he received a BA in History and Mathematics. A former Fulbright scholar and McKinsey consultant, Hyman received his PhD in American history in 2007 from Harvard University. His dissertation received the Harold K. Gross Prize for best dissertation in history at Harvard and the Krooss prize for best dissertation in business history nationally. His first book, Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink (Princeton University Press, 2011), focused on the history of the political economy of debt and was selected as one of the 2011 Choice Top 25 Outstanding Books of the Year. His second book, Borrow: The American Way of Debt (Vintage, 2012), explained how American culture shaped finance and in turn how finance shaped culture. Currently he is working on his third book, entitled Short-Sighted: The Rise of Flexible Corporations and Temporary Work in Postwar America.
Bethany Moreton is Professor of History at Dartmouth College. Since receiving her doctorate in history at Yale in 2006, she has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge and a fellow at the Harvard Divinity School and the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin. Her first book, To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise (Harvard University Press, 2009) won the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for best first book in U.S. history, the John Hope Franklin Award for the best book in American Studies, and the Emerging Scholar in the Humanities award from the University of Michigan. She is a founding member of the Tepoztlán Institute for the Transnational History of the Americas and a founding faculty member of Freedom University, which offers college coursework without charge to qualified Georgia high school graduates regardless of immigration status.
Julia Ott is Associate Professor of the History of Capitalism at the Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts and New School for Social Research, and the co-director of the Robert L. Heilbroner Center for Capitalism Studies. Ott’s first book, When Wall Street Met Main Street: The Quest for an Investors’ Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2011), tells the story of how financial markets and institutions—commonly perceived as marginal and elitist at the beginning of the twentieth century—first came to be seen as the bedrock of American capitalism. It traces how investment in bonds and stock—once considered disreputable and dangerous—first become a mass practice in the first three decades of the twentieth century. That book won the 2013 Vincent J. DeSantis Prize for the Best Book in the History of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. Ott received her PhD in History from Yale University in 2007.