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These pages offer an introduction to the history of capitalism, or at least to the literature that has informed my views. Except on the Online exhibits page, the readings are organized by original publication year.

Please feel free to propose additions or corrections to my lists, which I will revise as time permits.


The focus of these works is on the act of writing history: what are the rewards and pitfalls of the concepts, interpretive frameworks, methods, and sources that historians bring to bear as they "make" history?

    Passow, Richard. "Kapitalismus": Eine begrifflich-terminologische Studie. 2nd rev. ed. Jena: G. Fischer, 1927.
    Gras, N. S. B. "Capitalism—Concepts and History." Bulletin of the Business Historical Society 16, no. 2 (April 1942): 21-42.
    Gras, N. S. B. "What Is Capitalism in the Light of History?" Bulletin of the Business Historical Society 21, no. 4 (October 1, 1947): 79-120.
    Bloch, Marc. "Toward a Comparative History of European Socieities." In Enterprise and Secular Change: Readings in Economic History, edited by Frederic C. Lane and Jelle C. Riemersma, 494-521. Homewood, Ill: R. D. Irwin, 1953.
    Lively, Robert A. "The American System: A Review Article." Business History Review 29, no. 1 (March 1955): 81-96.
    Fischer, David Hackett. Historians' Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought. New York: Harper and Row, 1970.
    Lukes, Steven. Power: A Radical View. New York and London: Macmillan, 1974 (2nd ed., New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).
    Skocpol, Theda, and Margaret Somers. "The Uses of Comparative History in Macrosocial Inquiry." Comparative Studies in Society and History 22, no. 2 (April 1980): 174-197.
    North, Douglass C. Structure and Change in Economic History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1981.
    Stapleton, Darwin H., and David A. Hounshell. "The Discipline of the History of American Technology: An Exchange." Journal of American History 68, no. 4 (1982): 897-902.
    Staudenmaier, John M. Technology's Storytellers: Reweaving the Human Fabric. Cambridge, Mass.: Society for the History of Technology and the MIT Press, 1985.
    Field, Alexander J. . "The Future of Economic History." In The Future of Economic History, 1-42. Boston: Kluwer Nijhoff Publishing, 1987.
    McCraw, Thomas, ed. The Essential Alfred Chandler: Essays Toward a Historical Theory of Big Business. Abridged ed. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1988.
    Lipartito, Kenneth. "Culture and the Practice of Business History." Business and Economic History 24 (Winter 1995): 1-41.
    Merrill, Michael. "Putting 'Capitalism' in Its Place: A Review of Recent Literature." William and Mary Quarterly 3rd ser., 52 (April 1995): 315-326.
    John, Richard R. "Elaborations, Revisions, Dissents: Alfred D. Chandler, Jr.'s, 'The Visible Hand' after Twenty Years." Business History Review 71, no. 2 (Summer 1997): 151-200.
    Smith, Bonnie G. The Gender of History: Men, Women, and Historical Practice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998.
    White, Richard. "The Nationalization of Nature." Journal of American History 86, no. 3 (1999): 976-986.
    Applegate, Celia. "A Europe of Regions: Reflections on the Historiography of Sub-National Places in Modern Times." American Historical Review 104, no. 4 (October 1999): 1157-1182.
    Limerick, Patricia Nelson. "Going West and Ending up Global." Western Historical Quarterly 32, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 5-23.
    Bender, Thomas, ed. Rethinking American History in a Global Age. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.
    Fitzpatrick, Ellen F. History's Memory: Writing America's Past, 1880-1980. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002.
    Klein, Hans K., and Daniel Lee Kleinman. "The Social Construction of Technology: Structural Considerations." Science, Technology, and Human Values 27, no. 1 (Winter 2002): 28-52.
    Lamoreaux, Naomi R. "Rethinking the Transition to Capitalism in the Early American Northeast." Journal of American History 90, no. 2 (2003): 437-461.
    Lamoreaux, Naomi R., Daniel M. G. Raff and Peter Temin. "Beyond Markets and Hierarchies: Toward a New Synthesis of American Business History." American Historical Review 108, no. 2 (2003): 404-433.
    Manning, Patrick. Navigating World History: Historians Create a Global Past. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
    Baldwin, Peter. "Comparing and Generalizing: Why All History Is Comparative, Yet No History Is Sociology." In Comparison and History: Europe in Cross-National Perspective, 1-22. Edited by Deborah Cohen and Maura O'Connor. New York: Routledge, 2004.
    Sewell, William H. Logics of History: Social Theory and Social Transformation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
    Tyrrell, Ian. Historians in Public: The Practice of American History, 1890-1970. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
    Bender, Thomas. A Nation Among Nations: America's Place in World History. New York: Hill and Wang, 2006.
    Usselman, Steven W. "Classics Revisited: Still Visible: Alfred D. Chandler's 'The Visible Hand'." Technology and Culture 47, no. 3 (July 2006): 584-596.
    Eley, Geoff, and Keith Nield. The Future of Class in History: What's Left of the Social? Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007.
    Tyrrell, Ian. Transnational Nation: United States History in Global Perspective Since 1789. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
    Boydston, Jeanne. "Gender as a Question of Historical Analysis." Gender and History 20, no. 3 (2008): 558-583.
    Organization of American Historians. America on the World Stage: A Global Approach to U.S. History. Edited by Gary W. Reichard and Ted Dickson. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008.
    Sewell, Jr., William H. "The Temporalities of Capitalism." Socio-Economic Review 6 (2008): 517-537.
    Gräser, Marcus. "World History in a Nation-State: The Transnational Disposition in Historical Writing in the United States." Journal of American History 95, no. 4 (March 2009): 1038-1052.
    Staudenmaier, John M., SJ. "SHOT at Fifty." Technology and Culture 50, no. 3 (2009): 623-630.
    Rothenberg, Winifred B. "American Economic History: Economics? Or History?" Historical Methods 42, no. 4 (Fall 2009): 129-134.
    "AHR Exchange: On the 'Myth' of the 'Weak' State." American Historical Review 115, no. 3 (June 2010): 766-800.
    Banner, James M., Jr. A Century of American Historiography. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2010.
    Edgerton, David. "Innovation, Technology, or History: What Is the Historiography of Technology About?" Technology and Culture 51, no. 3 (2010): 680-697.
    Evans, Sterling. "Recent Developments in Transnational Environmental History." Radical History Review 2010, no. 107 (Spring 2010): 195-208.
    Gutiérrez, Ramón, and Elliott Young. "Transnationalizing Borderlands History." Western Historical Quarterly 41 (Spring 2010): 27-53.
    Haupt, Heinz-Gerhard, and Jürgen Kocka, eds. Comparative and Transnational History: Central European Approaches and New Perspectives. New York: Berghahn Books, 2010.
    Sewell, William H., Jr. . "A Strange Career: The Historical Study of Economic Life." History and Theory 49, no. 4 (December 2010): 146-166.
    Boldizzoni, Francesco. The Poverty of Clio: Resurrecting Economic History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011.
    Foner, Eric, and Lisa McGirr, eds. American History Now. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011. Includes: Beckert, Sven. "History of American Capitalism."
    Woolf, D. R. A Global History of History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
    Banner, James M., Jr. Being a Historian: An Introduction to the Professional World of History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
    Jones, Geoffrey, Marco H. D. van Leeuwen and Stephen Broadberry. "The Future of Economic, Business, and Social History." Scandinavian Economic History Review 60, no. 3 (2012): 225-253.
    Marks, S. G. "The Word 'Capitalism': The Soviet Union's Gift to America." Society 49 (2012): 155-163.
    Sklansky, Jeffrey. "The Elusive Sovereign: New Intellectual and Social Histories of Capitalism." Modern Intellectual History 9, no. 1 (2012): 233-248.
    Scranton, Philip, and Patrick Fridenson. Reimagining Business History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.
    Barreyre, Nicolas, Michael Heale, Stephen Tuck, and Cécile Vidal, eds. Historians across Borders: Writing American History in a Global Age. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014.
    Rockman, Seth. "What Makes the History of Capitalism Newsworthy?" Journal of the Early Republic 34, no. 3 (Fall 2014): 439-466.
    Sklansky, Jeffrey. "Labor, Money, and the Financial Turn in the History of Capitalism." Labor: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas 11, no. 1 (2014): 23-46.
    Hoffman, Philip T. "What Do States Do? Politics and Economic History." Journal of Economic History 75, no. 2 (June 2015): 303-332.
    Boldizzoni, Francesco, and Pat Hudson, eds. Routledge Handbook of Global Economic History. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2016.
    Kocka, Jürgen, and Marcel van der Linden, eds. Capitalism: The Reemergence of a Historical Concept. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016.
    Lipartito, Kenneth. "Reassembling the Economic: New Departures in Historical Materialism." American Historical Review 121, no. 1 (February 2016): 101-139.
    Purcell, Edward A. "Capitalism and Risk: Concepts, Consequences, and Ideologies." Buffalo Law Review 64, no. 1 (January 2016): 23-60.
    Putnam, Lara. "The Transnational and the Text-Searchable: Digitized Sources and the Shadows They Cast," American Historical Review 121, no. 2 (April 2016): 376-402.
    Barreyre, Nicolas, and Alexia Blin. "À la redécouverte du capitalisme américain." Revue d'histoire du XIX/e siècle 54, no. 1 (2017): 135-148.
    Friedman, Walter A. "Recent Trends in Business History Research: Capitalism, Democracy, and Innovation." Enterprise and Society 18, no. 4 (December 2017): 748-771.
    Hilt, Eric. "Economic History, Historical Analysis, and the 'New History of Capitalism'." Journal of Economic History 77, no. 2 (June 2017): 511-536.
    Levy, Jonathan. "Capital as Process and the History of Capitalism." Business History Review 91, no. 3 (2017): 483-510.
    Wadhwani, Daniel, and Christina Lubinski. "Reinventing Entrepreneurial History." Business History Review 91 (Winter 2017): 768-799.
    Eichengreen, Barry. "Financial History, Historical Analysis, and the New History of Finance Capital." Capitalism 1, no. 1 (Fall 2019): 20-58.
    Foreman-Peck, James, Daniel Raff, and Peter Scott. "Introduction: Leslie Hannah and Business History in His Time." Business History 61, no. 7 (October 2019): 1091-1107.