Sven Beckert, PhD, the Laird Bell Professor of History at Harvard University, is the featured speaker at the eighth annual Lore Kephart ’86 Distinguished Historians Lecture on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center at Villanova University. His lecture, “Empire of Cotton: The Global Origins of Modern Capitalism,” discusses the international inception of modern capitalism—a timely topic as the U.S. nears its general election and considers the country’s economic and financial climate.
Dr. Beckert is the author of Empire of Cotton: A Global History (Knopf, 2014), which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, winner of the Bancroft Award and named one of the The New York Times 10 most important books of 2015. His book recalls the rise and fall of one of the most important commodities of the 19th century and describes the complex relationships and struggles between slaves, workers, merchants and factory owners in order to explain disturbing inequalities of the modern day.
Dr. Beckert is author to other works including, Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development and The Monied Metropolis: New York City and the Consolidation of the American Bourgeoisie, 1850-1896. His publications focus on labor, democracy, global trade, workers’ rights, economics, slavery and capitalism.
He is co-chair of the Program on the Study of Capitalism and the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History at Harvard. In addition to his work at Harvard, Dr. Becker co-chairs an international study group on global history serves as co-editor of a series of books at Princeton University Press on “America in the World” and is a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow.
The Lore Kephart '86 Distinguished Historians Lecture Series was established in memory of Lore Kephart '86 through an endowment to the University by her husband Horace L. Kephart.
About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenged and changing world. With 39 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.