Sven Beckert is the Laird Bell Professor of History at Harvard. He 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 wrote 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, and the Cundill Recognition for Excellence. His other publications have focused on the nineteenth-century bourgeoisie, labor, democracy, global history, and the connections between slavery and 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. With a group of students, he has worked on the historical connections between Harvard and slavery and published Harvard and Slavery: Seeking a Forgotten History.