Political Economy Seminar Prize

We are thrilled to announce the inaugural winners of our first ever student paper prize in Political Economy.  This prize is awarded to graduate students enrolled in the Harvard's Workshop on the Political Economy of Modern Capitalism.  Selection is based on research papers prepared for the seminar.   For the inaugural award, program Chairs Sven Beckert and Christine Desan have selected two students who wrote superb essays based on original research.  We are happy to congratulate  Duane Rudolph (Harvard Law Schoool) and Shaun Nichols (History)!


Duane Rudolph, "How Violence Killed an American Union"

Traditional arguments about violence and the legal order have stressed physical violence.  However, when "violence" is broadly construed as a constitutive element of the law--since the law relies heavily on historical context and particular deployments of language that urge judicial violence against disfavored litigants--legal violence is not only a result, but also a process that includes legislators, judges, and lawyers.

Shaun S. Nichols, “Unraveling the Paradox of American Progressivism: Labor, State, and Social Politics—The Case of Washington, 1880-1919”

Early-twentieth century Washington was a moment of extraordinary labor power; trade unionists built expansive political coalitions and succeeded in pushing the state to pass an astounding array of social legislation of direct benefit to the average working person. With that in mind, this paper attempts to excavate the roots of this brief moment of labor ascendancy; in so doing, it fundamentally challenges traditional views of labor-state relations, American Progressivism, and the place of the United States in the world history of progressive social politics.