Profile
Carolyn BILTOFT

Carolyn BILTOFT

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, INTERNATIONAL HISTORY
Spoken languages
English, French
Areas of expertise
  • Globalisation
  • History of international relations
  • International organisations, UN
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • Western and Central Europe

PROFILE

 

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. 

 

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS


Books

  • Global Flesh and Spirit: The Information Age as Seen from the League of Nations. Manuscript, forthcoming 2016.

Published articles

  • “The League of Nations and Alternative Economic Perspectives.” In Jayati Ghosh, Rainer Kattel & Erik Reinert, eds. Elgar Handbook of Alternative Theories of Economic Development, Edgar Elgar Publishing LTD (Cheltenham, U.K), Forthcoming January, 2016.
  • “The Meek Shall not Inherit the Earth: Nationalist Economies, Ethnic Minorities, and the League of Nations 1919-1939.” In Christoph Kreutzmueller, Michael Wildt and Moshe Zimmerman, Eds. National Economies: Volks-Wirtschaft, Racism and Economy in Europe Between the Wars, Cambridge Scholars, (Newcastle, U.K), August 2015.
  • “On a Certain Blindness in Economic Theory: the Firm, the State and the Macro-Micro Divide, 1926-1937.” In Sophus Reinert and Robert Fredona, eds. The Legitimacy of Power: New Perspectives on the History of Political Economy, forthcoming, TBA.
  • “Reversing the Curse of Babel? International Language Movements and Inter-war Chasms.” in Patrick Manning (ed.) World History: Global and Local Interactions (Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2005), pp. 179–194.
  • “Inter-War Years” in William H. McNeill et al (ed) Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History volume III (Great Barrington MA: Berkshire Publishing Group, 2005) pp. 1018-1022

Articles in Progress/Under Review 

  •  “The Linguistic Pivot: Patterns in the Early Information Economy, 1850-1929,” Article in progress

Book Reviews

  • Patricia Clavin (2013) Securing the World Economy: The Reinvention of the League of Nations, 1920-1946. Journal of Modern History, Forthcoming
  • Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost (2006) and Paul Krugman, Development, Geography and Economic Theory, (combined review) Global Atlanta, January 1, 2013
  • F. Ugboaja Ohaegbulam (2002) West African Responses to European Imperialism in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.  Itinerario 28: 2 (2004) pp. 174-175
Carolyn N. Biltoft
Carolyn N. Biltoft

Office hours