Harvard University historian Sven Beckert will visit UGA Feb. 25 for the Global Georgia Initiative of the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts. He will give his talk, “Empire of Cotton: The Global Origins of Modern Capitalism,” at 4 p.m. in the Chapel.
Beckert won the Bancroft Prize and was selected as a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his 2015 book, Empire of Cotton: A Global History. He is the Laird Bell Professor of History at Harvard, researching and teaching 19th-century U.S. history, with an emphasis on the history of capitalism.
Beckert’s talk is presented in partnership with the School of Public and International Affairs, the University of Georgia Press, the history department in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School.
“Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin after visiting a Georgia plantation, and Georgia farmers still plant over 1 million acres of cotton each year in this state,” said Dean Stefanie Lindquist of the School of Public and International Affairs. “Given the prominence of cotton to Georgia’s history and current economy, professor Beckert’s extraordinary book is uniquely relevant to this state, but the story of cotton extends worldwide. Beckert’s careful and extensive historical research and analysis will help modern readers understand the impact of the cotton industry throughout world history—and in particular its human consequences for slaves, mill workers and child laborers, among many other affected groups.”
Lindquist, who also is the Arch Professor of Public and International Affairs, will introduce Beckert’s talk.
The Global Georgia Initiative is a series of lectures and conversations whose goal is to present global problems in local context with a focus on how the arts and humanities can intervene.