Working Groups

History of Capitalism Dissertation Workshop

A student led, inter-disciplinary workshop group for dissertation writers in history, economics, sociology and political science and others whose research deals with the history of capitalism and political economy. You can join the email list for the  capitalism dissertation group here.

  • For more information, and if you'd like to participate, please contact Liat Spiro (spiro [at]

Fall 2016 Schedule

Sept. 27: Rudi Batzell, "Terrains of Inequality and Work: Patriarchal Households and Proprietary Firms"

Oct. 11: Liang Xu, "Family Governmentality and Flexible Accumulation: Toward a Cultural Analysis of Chinese Garment Producers in South Africa"

Nov. 8: Andrew Pope, "A Witch’s Brew: Coalition Building Among the Black Power, Gay Liberation, & Women’s Liberation Movements in Atlanta, 1969-1974"

Nov. 29: Marion Menzin, "'Our New England Freinds': Twin Colonies and the Beginnings of the North American Sugar Economy, 1630-1660"

Dec. 13: Liat Spiro, "Prime Movers: Dual Revolutions in Skill, Tools, and Trade, 1824-1852"

Spring 2017 Schedule

Jan. 17: Liang Xu, "'Chinese Eat Blacks': Discipline and Defiance on the Shop Floor"

Mar. 28: Cristina Groeger, "Credentialed Inequality: Professionalizing Projects in Progressive-Era Boston"

Apr. 11: Zachary Nowak, "Where Americans Learned to Love the Bomb: The Train Station and the Origins of the Military-Industrial Complex"

Apr. 25Jonathan Cohen, "'This Initiative Has Been Bought and Sold': The Private Sector and the Spread of State Lotteries"

History of Capitalism Reading Group

From classic works of political economy to recent historiography, the Capitalism reading group provides a setting in which graduates interested in the history of capitalism, political economy, economic thought, and social history can tackle and discuss a program of reading defined by the group's participants each term. From first-years to post-docs, all are welcome and encouraged to join the discussions. You can join the email list for the capitalism reading group here. 

  • For more information, and if you'd like to participate, please contact Samantha Payne (spayne [at]

Fall 2016 Schedule: 

Sept 20: Stephen Mihm. Nation of Counterfeiters

Oct. 4: Matthew Karp. This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy.  

Oct 18: Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman, eds. Slavery's Capitalism. 

Nov 1: Amy Dru Stanley. From Bondage to Contract: Wage Labor, Marriage, and the Market in the Era of Slave Emancipation. Focus on the “Beggars Can’t be Choosers” chapter.

Nov 15: Harry Braverman. Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century

Dec 6: Jennifer Klein. For All These Rights: Business, Labor, and the Shaping of America's Public-Private Welfare State
Spring 2017 Schedule: 
Feb 7: Charles Postel, The Populist Vision

Feb 21: Ellen Meiksins Wood, The Origin of Capitalism

March 7: "Interchange: The History of Capitalism," in Journal of American History (2014); Scott Reynolds Nelson, "Who Put Their Capitalism in My Slavery?" in Journal of the Civil War Era (2015); John C. Clegg, "Capitalism and Slavery," in Critical Historical Studies (2015); and James Oakes, "Capitalism and Slavery and the Civil War," in International Labor and Working-class History (2016)

March 21: Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors

April 4: Michael Roberts, The Long Depression

April 18: Wolfgang Streek, How Will Capitalism End?