From June 20 through June 2, 2016, the Hoover Institution Library & Archives brought together scholars from across the globe for its third annual Workshop on Political Economy. Organized by Stanford history professor Jennifer Burns, the workshop invites researchers from diverse fields to study the history of economic thought using the archives of such notable thinkers as Karl Popper, Milton Friedman, and F.A. Hayek. Participants spent the week pursuing individual research projects in the Hoover reading room and participating in daily roundtables and discussions dedicated to expanding interdisciplinary conversations surrounding economics, political theory, and history. This year, Loyola University historian Michelle Nickerson delivered a lecture entitled "Mothers of Conservatism," which explored the combined histories of feminism and conservatism in the United States.
The 2016 Workshop on Political Economy included both early and late career scholars who are leaders in their respective fields. Paul Lewis, a workshop participant from King's College, London, reflected, "My research will be significantly deeper and richer as a consequence [of attending the workshop]. Significantly, I would not have been able to collect all of this material elsewhere, so the chance to participate in the workshop has afforded me a unique, and terrifically valuable, opportunity, for which I am extremely grateful. It was also interesting for me to hear, and learn from, the methodological discussions in the workshops (not just the analysis of substantive issues). It really has been a valuable, memorable, and enjoyable week."
2016 Workshop on Political Economy Participants
Jennifer Burns, the workshop’s faculty organizer, is an assistant professor of history at Stanford University. Her research focuses on intellectual, political, and cultural history, with a particular interest in ideas about the state, markets, and capitalism and how these play out in policy and politics. At Stanford, Burns has been involved in a number of new initiatives, including serving as a faculty adviser to the Approaches to Capitalism Workshop at the Stanford Humanities Center, co-founding the Bay Area Consortium for the History of Ideas in America, and consulting with the Hoover Institution Archives on new acquisitions in American political history. Her first book, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, was an intellectual biography of the libertarian novelist Ayn Rand. During the workshop, she continued her work on a book about Milton Friedman, using his papers held at the Hoover Archives.
Christy Ford Chapin is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). She is also a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University through a Kauffman Foundation grant to study the history of capitalism. Her research interests include political, economic, and business history. Her first book, Ensuring America’s Health: The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Care System, traces the role of insurance companies in the nation’s medical care complex. She attended the workshop to continue researching a manuscript about the “financialization” of the U.S. economy after World War II.
Robert Cole is a PhD candidate in modern East Asian history at New York University. His research interests center on the history of economic life in late imperial and twentieth century China. His dissertation, titled “‘To Save the Village:’ Confronting Chinese Rural Crisis in the Global 1930s” examines how researchers, reformers, and revolutionaries both within China and around the world struggled to understand and to intervene in China’s deep interwar agrarian crisis. At the workshop, Cole began work on a new project that traces the history of concepts and practices of “land value” in modern China, using materials from the Guomindang archives, the James Hayes papers, and the Liu family records, among others.
Maurice Cottier is a historian currently holding a postdoc position as lecturer, researcher and project coordinator at the University of Bern, Switzerland. His fields of interest are the history of economic thought and political economy, the history of interpersonal violence and the history of political protest. He is the author of the book Liberalismus oder Staatsintervention (Liberalism or State Intervention), on the history of economic supply policies in the Swiss federal state from 1848 to the present. Inspired by the new cultural history and science studies, his new project seeks to analyze the rise of the free market ideology in the postwar years as part of a broader cultural change in American society and culture.
Alex DiBranco is a Sociology Ph.D. candidate at Yale University studying social movements, nonprofit organizations, field theory, and conservative political and religious mobilization. Her dissertation examines the development of the New Right’s organizational infrastructure in the United States from the 1970s to the mid-1990s. Hoover’s collections of files from Young Americans for Freedom and other conservative groups provides essential material for this project.
Benjamin Feldman is a PhD candidate in history at Georgetown University. His dissertation on American “Third World-ism” during the Cold War will examine the role of the Third World in the American political imagination during the post-war period. In particular, he is interested in contextualizing “Third World-ism” as the result of academic inquiry beginning during the Second World War and in the early postwar period. During the workshop, he used the Hoover’s New Left collection to understand leftist social and economic critics of the 1940s-1960s and the work of social-scientists in producing knowledge about the developing world.
Paul Lewis is a Reader in Economics and Public Policy at King’s College, London. He was educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and Christ Church, Oxford, and is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, USA, a retained supervisor in economics at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and a member of the Cambridge Social Ontology Group. At the workshop, Lewis focused on two interrelated projects in the F.A. Hayek Papers. One project examined the influences that shaped Hayek’s postwar work on complexity, while the other complemented Lewis’s editorial duties in preparing a volume of Hayek’s Collected Works.
David Mitch is currently Professor and Chair of the Economics Department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His research into the economic history of education was recently recognized by Uppsala University, Sweden, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2014. His current research interests focus on the role of economic historians in the University of Chicago’s famous economics department. During the workshop, he investigated the role of economic historian John Nef in recruiting Friedrich Hayek to the University of Chicago, and also examined the circumstances under which Milton Friedman was recruited to the faculty in 1946. His article “A Year of Transition: Faculty Recruiting at Chicago in 1946,” is forthcoming in The Journal of Political Economy.
Paul Murphy is Professor of History at Grand Valley State University and author most recently of The New Era: American Thought and Culture in the 1920s (2011). His current project is “American Intellectuals and the Search for a ‘New Humanism,’ 1900-1950.” During the workshop, he focused on the papers of Sidney Hook, looking at Hook’s engagement with conservative religious intellectuals in the 1940s and his polemics against them. The collections at Hoover shed light on Hood’s interactions with other famous intellectuals including Charles Beard, Daniel Bell, and Mortimer Adler.
Onur Özgöde is completing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) at the Harvard Law School. Beginning September 2016, he will be a Research Fellow at the Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University in 2015, where he was a Paul Lazarsfeld Fellow. He is currently working on a book manuscript entitled In the Name of the System: Governing Systemic Risk at the Limits of Neoliberalism, 1922-2010. This work examines the emergence of systemic risk in finance and other sectors of the economy to explain the transformation of economic governance in the United States since the New Deal. At the Hoover Archives, he conducted research in the papers of Milton Friedman, focusing on three major issues: the origins of Friedman’s monetarist approach to macroeconomic government; implementation of this approach in the Federal Reserve by his mentor Arthur Burns in the early 1970s; and the divergences and tensions between Friedman and Burns over the Fed’s emergency lending operations.
Eric Rauchway is Professor of History at the University of California, Davis, and the author of several books on twentieth century US history, most recently The Money Makers: How Roosevelt and Keynes Ended the Depression, Defeated Fascism, and Secured a Prosperous Peace. During the workshop, he continued research on a new book examining the critical period of transition between the presidencies of Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt. Relevant collections at Hoover include the papers of Raymond Moley, Kurt Mattusch, Robert Murphy, Hugh Gibson, Ray Lyman Wilbur, and Arthur Kemp.