Capitalism and Violence: A Short History by Sven Beckert, Harvard University

30 04 2019

AS: The lens with which I observe historical phenomena differs considerably from that of Sven Beckert, but I am always interested in listening to what he has to say. Next month, he will be presented in Copenhagen about the relationship between violence and capitalism. My priors, which are much more like those of Pinker, strongly suggest to me that the rise of capitalism has produced a reduction in the overall rate of violence, but I am certain curious to learn more about Sven Beckert’s presentation on this subject, which will likely argue that there is a causative relationship between capitalism development and violence. Anyway, here are the details of his talk.    

Professor Beckert researches and teaches the history of the United States in the nineteenth century, with a particular emphasis on the history of capitalism, including its economic, social, political and transnational dimensions. He just published Empire of Cotton: A Global History, the first global history of the nineteenth century’s most important commodity. The book won the Bancroft Award, The Philip Taft Award, the Cundill Recognition for Excellence and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The New York Times named it one of the ten most important books of 2015. His other publications have focused on the nineteenth-century bourgeoisie, on labor, on democracy, on global history and on the connections between slavery and capitalism. Currently he is at work on a history of capitalism. Beckert teaches courses on the political economy of modern capitalism, the history of American capitalism, Gilded Age America, labor history, global capitalism and the history of European capitalism. Together with a group of students he has also worked on the historical connections between Harvard and slavery and published Harvard and Slavery: Seeking a Forgotten History.

Beckert is co-chair of the Program on the Study of Capitalism at Harvard University , and co-chair of theWeatherhead Initiative on Global History (WIGH). Beyond Harvard, he co-chairs an international study group on global history, is co-editor of a series of books at Princeton University Press on “America in the World,” and has co-organized a series of conferences on the history of capitalism. He is a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow. He also directs the Harvard College Europe Program.


Date: 14th May 201

Time: 11.00 – 12.15

Venue: Udvælgseværelse  3, Nørregdae


Registration is required. Send a mail to Sofie Rosa Mønster  



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