Sven Beckert

Sven Beckert is Laird Bell Professor of American History at Harvard University, where he teaches the history of the United States in the nineteenth century, and global history. With Christine A. Desan, he is the co-director of the Program on the Study of Capitalism at Harvard University.
He studied history, economics and political science at the University of Hamburg, Germany and then graduated from Columbia University with a PhD in History.
He was an American Council of Learned Societies Fellow.
He was a Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies Fellow.
He was a New York Public Library Fellow.
He is a Guggenheim Fellow.


He is the author of Empire of Cotton: A Global History, which won the 2015 Bancroft Prize and was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for History. The New York Times called it "one of the ten best books of 2015." Economic historian Peer Vries wrote that it was "a must read for every historian interested in global history, but in my view it is better as a story on cotton than as an analysis of capitalism." Other economic historians have criticized the book.