PhD, Princeton University
Trained in modern world history (Princeton, 2010), my work approaches the dynamics of global capitalism since 1850 through the lenses of intellectual and cultural history. In particular, I am interested in the ways that individuals and institutions have responded to, made sense of, and then influenced the bundle of interconnected phenomena collated under the term globalisation. My first book project (forthcoming), Global Flesh and Spirit: The Information Age as Seen from the League of Nations, 1918-1939, situates the rise and fall of the world’s first intergovernmental organisation within the riptides of a global modernity where markets and societies became entangled with information systems. Rather than telling one institutional story, the book uses the League's archives to reveal the ways in which documents on topics as varied as missing typewriters, false news, and international currencies each shared a common concern with the changing relationship between the “tangible” and the “intangible” in the modern information age. Above all, the book rethinks the diverse links running between the growth of mass media and the rise of racially- motivated violence in the interwar moment.
Each of my current projects focuses in some way on the relationships between mythology, religion and “mental states,” as a point of entry for rethinking the history of capitalism and the history of economic thought. My current book project, Mythos-Economicos: Archaic Analogies and Modern Economics, explores the prevalence of mythological references and analogies in economic theory from the 18th century to the present era. Each chapter is organised around the various reverberations of specific myths. The goal is not only to revisit the use of these metaphors by economic theorists, but also to revisit the history of economics as a form of modern myth-making. Here I don't think of myths in opposition to the "real" but rather in terms of what William James called "animating beliefs." In a similar frame, I am also currently pursuing projects on the financial records of certain religious institutions and on the economic concepts embedded in psychoanalytic theory from Freud onward.