Authored and edited

 
Empire of Cotton

Winner of the

Alfred D. Chandler Prize

Bancroft Prize

Cundill Prize Recognition of Excellence

Philip Taft Prize

Cabot Prize

Premio Cherasco

Other Distinctions

Pulitzer Prize Finalist

New York Times, One of the Ten Best Books of 2015

The empire of cotton was, from the beginning, a fulcrum of constant global struggle between slaves and planters, merchants and statesmen, workers and factory owners. Sven Beckert makes clear how these forces ushered in the world of modern capitalism, including the vast wealth and disturbing inequalities that are with us today.
        In a remarkably brief period, European entrepreneurs and powerful politicians recast the world’s most significant manufacturing industry, combining imperial expansion and slave labor with new machines and wage workers to make and remake global capitalism. The result is a book as unsettling as it is enlightening: a book that brilliantly weaves together the story of cotton with how the present global world came to exist.

 
The Monied Metropolis

Tracing the shifting fortunes and changing character of New York City's economic elite over half a century, Sven Beckert brings to light a neglected--and critical--chapter in the social history of the U.S.: the rise of an American bourgeoisie. The Monied Metropolis is the first comprehensive history of New York's economic elite, the most powerful group in nineteenth-century America. Beckert explains how a small and diverse group of New Yorkers came to wield unprecedented economic, social, and political power from 1850 to the turn of the twentieth century. He reveals the central role of the Civil War in realigning New York's economic elite, and how the New York bourgeoisie reoriented its ideology during Reconstruction, abandoning the free labor views of the antebellum years for laissez-faire liberalism. 

 
Slavery's Capitalism

Drawing on the expertise of sixteen scholars who are at the forefront of rewriting the history of American economic development, Slavery's Capitalism identifies slavery as the primary force driving key innovations in entrepreneurship, finance, accounting, management, and political economy that are too often attributed to the so-called free market. Approaching the study of slavery as the originating catalyst for the Industrial Revolution and modern capitalism casts new light on American credit markets, practices of offshore investment, and understandings of human capital. Rather than seeing slavery as outside the institutional structures of capitalism, the essayists recover slavery's importance to the American economic past and prompt enduring questions about the relationship of market freedom to human freedom.

Global History, Globally

In recent years historians in many different parts of the world have sought to transnationalize and globalize their perspectives on the past. Despite all these efforts to gain new global historical visions, however, the debates surrounding this movement have remained rather provincial in scope. Global History, Globally addresses this lacuna by surveying the state of global history in different world regions.

Divided into three distinct but tightly interweaved sections, the book's chapters provide regional surveys of the practice of global history on all continents, review some of the research in four core fields of global history and consider a number of problems that global historians have contended with in their work. The authors hail from various world regions and are themselves leading global historians. Collectively, they provide an unprecedented survey of what today is the most dynamic field in the discipline of history.

As one of the first books to systematically discuss the international dimensions of global historical scholarship and address a wealth of questions emanating from them, Global History, Globally is a must-read book for all students and scholars of global history.

 
American Capitalism

American Capitalism presents a sampling of cutting-edge research from prominent scholars. These broad-minded and rigorous essays venture new angles on finance, debt, and credit; women’s rights; slavery and political economy; the radicalization of capitalism; labor beyond industrial wage workers; and the production of knowledge, including the idea of the economy, among other topics. Together, the essays suggest emerging themes in the field: a fascination with capitalism as it is made by political authority, how it is claimed and contested by participants, how it spreads across the globe, and how it can be reconceptualized without being universalized. A major statement for a wide-open field, this book demonstrates the breadth and scope of the work that the history of capitalism can provoke.

 
The American Bourgeoisie

This volume engages a fundamental disciplinary question about this period in American history: how did the bourgeoisie consolidate their power and fashion themselves not simply as economic leaders but as cultural innovators and arbiters? It also explains how culture helped Americans form both a sense of shared identity and a sense of difference.

 

For inquiries, please contact Sven Beckert

617-495-0697

Harvard University, Department of History,            Robinson Hall, 35 Quincy St. Cambridge , MA 02138

© 2019 Sven Beckert

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