Associate Professor of History
80 Fifth Avenue
During my lifetime, American political culture has been distinguished by a pervasive belief that individual freedom is best guaranteed by freedom of the market. Over the course of the last forty years, the collective solutions that once nurtured the American middle class – including labor unions along with government and corporate-sponsored social provisions – drew increasing criticism for allegedly impeding the dynamic individualism of American capitalism. Government withdrew from social protection and provision. De-regulation and privatization swept across the domestic policy landscape. As a result, inequality increased. And the well-being of American households was yoked ever more tightly to increasingly unregulated financial markets. These ideas, policies, and outcomes -- often labeled “neoliberalism” by scholars -- account, in part, for both the insurgency of Bernie Sanders and the shocking victory of Donald Trump.
The past offers tools for understanding our present circumstances. And, I believe, history can guide us in navigating the future, for making the choices that are necessary to create a fair and sustainable economy for all.
As a scholar, teacher, editor, and public intellectual, I aim to advance critical histories of capitalism. I engage non-academic audiences as a member of Scholar’s Committee for the New York at its Core exhibit at the City Museum of New York, a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, a consultant to documentary films, and by writing for publications like Public Books, The Nation, Dissent, and Public Seminar. My media appearances include BBC, NPR, C-SPAN, and PBS, while my work has been featured in outlets including The New York Times, Business World, Chinese National Television, Radio OpenSource, Majority Report with Sam Seder, Bloomberg, and Who Makes the Cents?
One of my favorite aspects of academic life is lending my support to other scholars and writers. I am fortunate to do as a graduate student advisor and as an Editor of Public Seminar, a member of the Editorial Board of Dissent, and a Co-Editor of the book series Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism published by Columbia University Press.
BA, Princeton University, 1997
PhD, Yale University, 2007
When Wall Street Met Main Street: The Quest for an Investors’ Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2011)
Winner of the Vincent DeSantis Prize for the Best Book on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
Selected Other Writings
“Tax Preference as White Privilege: Historical Perspective on the Racial Wealth Gap,” Capitalism and History vol 1, no. 2 (Summer 2019)
“What Was The Great Bull Market?: Value, Valuation, and Financial History” in ed. Sven Beckert and Christine Desan, The New History of American Capitalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018)
“Words Can’t Do the Work For Us," Dissent (January 22, 2018)
“Clinton Democrats Are Wrong. It’s Not Wall Street that Needs to Be Unleashed – It’s Government,” Washington Post (October 31, 2017)
“How Tax Policy Created the 1%,” Dissent (April 18, 2017)
“Occupied Wall Street Journal,” Museum of the City of New York, November 2016
"Curious Beginnings of the Capital Gains Tax Preference” Fordham Law Review vol. 84 (2016), p.101-120, co-authored with Ajay Mehrotra
“Capitalism Studies: A Manifesto,” Public Seminar, April 17, 2014
“Slaves: The Capital That Made Capital,” Public Seminar, April 9, 2014
"Solving the ‘Debt Question’,” New Labor Forum vol. 22 no. 1 (Spring 2013), co-authored with Louis Hyman
“‘The Free and Open People’s Market’: Political Ideology and Retail Brokerage at the New York Stock Exchange, 1913-1933,” Journal of American History vol. 96 no. 1 (June 2009): 44-71.
“When Wall Street Met Main Street: The Quest for an Investors’ Democracy and the Emergence of the Retail Investor in the United States, 1890-1930,” Enterprise and Society vol. 9 no. 4 (December 2008): 619-630.
History of capitalism, 20th century American history, financial history, labor history, neoliberalism, conservatism, consumer culture, women's and gender history, race and capitalism
Civic Liberal Arts Grant, Eugene Lang College for the Liberal Arts at the New School, 2018
Faculty Opportunity Award, Eugene Lang College for the Liberal Arts, The New School, 2017
Visiting Scholar, Institute for Public Knowledge, New York University, 2014-2016
Grant Recipient, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on American Material Culture, Bard Graduate Center, July 2013
Vincent DeSantis Prize for the Best Book on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 2013
Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholar, New York City, 2009-2010
Interdisciplinary Seminar Grant, Tobin Project, 2009-2010
Museum of Capitalism: Hist Lab
Ind Senior Project