Professor emerita of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Political Economy, Corporate Governance, Corporate organization, Commodities, Business and Economic History, History of Capitalism, History of technology
Women in Business History
I began my career as a historian of technology and a business historian (MIT PhD '88) and taught in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 32 years. Around the turn of the twentieth-first century, I reconceptualized myself as a historian of capitalism, which, for me, was a means of integrating business history, history of technology, labor history, and political economy in my research and teaching. Having retired from teaching in 2019, I am now able to concentrate on my research and writing, which currently concerns the standardization of everyday commodities and the history of the corporation in the U.S.
A key theme motivating my research is the relationship between political and economic change—in particular, understanding the manifold ways in which economic change has been shaped by government policy, legal infrastructure (e.g., property rights), and the overall structure of political institutions. For this, comparative history is indispensable, and from the get-go I have been a comparativist at heart, with a particular interest in U.S. and German industrialization.