Christine Desan is the author of Making Money: Coin, Currency, and the Coming of Capitalism (Oxford University Press, 2014), a book arguing that capitalism took shape when societies radically transformed the way they engineered money, adopting bank-issued currency as their public medium and appointing private investors as experts in money creation. More generally, Desan takes a “constitutional approach” to money, exposing and exploring the governance project that packages value into a medium that can be mobilized and enforced in legal transactions. See, e.g., Desan, Christine. "The Constitutional Approach to Money: Monetary Design and the Production of the Modern World." In Money Talks: Essays in Honor of Viviana Zelizer, edited by Nina Bandelj and Fred Wherry. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017.
Desan co-edited with Sven Beckert a collection of essays, American Capitalism: New Histories (Columbia University, 2018), by scholars who had participated in the Workshop on the Political Economy of Modern Capitalism, the Program’s research seminar. She is also the editor of A Cultural History of Money in the Age of Enlightenment (Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming), and a collection of essays on monetary theory, Inside Money (in process). Her earlier work focused on the adjudicative power of legislatures and sovereign immunity. Desan is on the Board of the Institute for Global Law and Policy and is an editor of the journal Eighteenth Century Studies. She has been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and at the Massachusetts Historical Society.