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O'Connell Initiative

O’Connell Initiative on the Global History of Capitalism

The O’Connell Initiative for the Global History of Capitalism is a forum for intellectual exploration. It brings together scholars of every aspect of capitalism, from its earliest medieval manifestations to its twenty-first-century consequences across the globe. It supports groundbreaking research and teaching on global capitalism and engages with the public through lectures, debates, and workshops.

The O’Connell Initiative in the Global History of Capitalism is supported by generous gifts from Fordham alumnus Robert J. O’Connell, FCRH '65.

Join us on April 13th at 5:30pm (EST) when Dr. Caitlin Rosenthal, Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley, will talk about how slaveholders in the American south and the Caribbean used early versions of some of the same data and accounting practices we now associate with the rise of big business. How did these management practices develop and what can they tell us about the history of American Capitalism more broadly? Topics will include the valuation of enslaved lives and the emergence analysis similar to what would later be called scientific management.  The records slaveholders left behind reveal both the violence of the system and the ways enslaved people pushed back against it. They also offer an opportunity to reflect on how we can craft more ethical data practices in the future. Register for the Zoom link here.

On Tuesday, March 9th, Nan Enstad (University of Wisconsin-Madison): author of Cigarettes, Inc.: An Intimate History of Corporate Imperialism (University of Chicago Press, 2018) led  a discussion. Speaker Dr. Nan Enstad, Professor of Community and Environmental Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, engaged with the current battle over the future of farming between corporate agriculture advocates and indigenous and agroecological smallholder advocates. 

Nan Enstad Event


On Friday March 5th, the department held a workshop, “Retracing Power: Authority, Conflict, and Resistance in History". The Keynote Speaker, Dr. Elizabeth Otto, Professor of Art History and Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo, discussed topics related to her talk entitled, "Retracing Power, Refiguring History: Haunted Bauhaus and a New History of Modernism," and discuss her most recent book, Haunted Bauhaus: Occult Spirituality Gender Fluidity, Queer Identities, and Radical Politics (The MIT Press, 2019).

March 5 Workshop


On February 23rd, the History Department hosted a virtual event, "Reinserting Gender and Social Reproduction into the History of Capitalism" at 4:00 pm EST. Keynote Speaker, Dr. Nancy Folbre of University of Massachusetts at Amherst, discussed her work along with respondents Dr. Eileen Boris (of University of California, Santa Barbara), Dr. Pilar Gonalons-Pons (of University of Pennsylvania), and Dr. Naomi R. Williams (of Rutgers University).

Reinserting Gender and Social Reproduction into the History of Capitalism