Department of History and the College
Jonathan Levy is a historian of economic life in the United States, with interests in the relationships between business and economic history, political economy, legal history, and the history of ideas. His research and teaching span the 19th and 20th centuries and are concerned with global and comparative questions. His first book, Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk in America (Harvard University Press, 2012), is a history of risk in the United States. The book has a dual focus, tracing the simultaneous rise, in the context of slave emancipation, of a new individualist creed that equated freedom with risk-taking and a new corporate financial system of risk management. Freaks of Fortune 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.
Levy is currently working on an interpretive history of capitalism in the United States, “Ages of American Capitalism,” which will be published by Random House in 2016. He is also researching the history of corporations in the United States.
He holds an MA and PhD from the University of Chicago, as well as a BA from Yale University.