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Faculty Fellow

Jonathan Levy

James Westfall Thompson Professor of US History, Fundamentals, Social Thought, and the College; Associate Faculty Member, Law School; Faculty Affiliate, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture University of Chicago


Jonathan Levy is a historian of economic life and of the United States, with interests in the relationships among business history, political economy, legal history, and the history of ideas and culture. His most recent book, Ages of American Capitalism (Random House, 2021), traces the history of American economic life from British colonial settlement through the Great Recession. The book is also a single-volume history of the United States. Much of Levy's recent research has sought to place investment at the center of economic history and theory, and, relatedly, to contribute towards the creation of a “Keynesian” paradigm in economic history. Levy is currently working on three projects. The first is The Real Economy, a collection of essays on economic theory and history, with a focus on capital, corporations, and profit. Another book, The Fetish of Liquidity, is a revised version of a series of lectures on global economic history since the Great Depression. The final project is a climate history of the city of Houston in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Levy's first book, Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk in America (Harvard, 2012), won the Organization of American Historians' Frederick Jackson Turner Award, Ellis W. Hawley Prize, and Avery O. Craven Award and the American Society for Legal History's William Nelson Cromwell Book Prize.

Featured Project

Faces of famous leaders on banknotes from around the world

Democracy and Capitalism: An Interdisciplinary Project in History, Law, and Politics

2022 – 2023


The Economy and Its Boundaries

The Economy and Its Boundaries

This project advanced a cross-disciplinary, humanistic social science of economic life by asking: Where, within different methodological and disciplinary approaches, can “the economy” be located? How and for what purposes can it be analyzed? How might various approaches inform one another?

For many humanists and social scientists “the economy” has long been a realm apart, inscrutable to their analysis. In the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008 and the Great Recession that followed, new work, ranging across a number of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, has...