Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Indiana University, Bloomington
Website URL
French Revolution, money, restaurants
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Professor of History at Indiana University, where I also direct the Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies and the Liberal Arts + Management Program. My research and teaching interests range from revolutionary Europe to “Business and Inequality,” “Luxury, from Mortal Sin to Market Sector,” and the global history of money.

As a critic of the obvious, I am drawn to subjects (mis)understood as natural, normal, or universal. In other words, I am a historian of that which appears to have no history. My first book asked, “Why are there restaurants?”—a question previously and wrongly answered in terms of natural human appetites or extraordinary national characters—while my second focuses on the long French Revolution to explore what money is and how it functions. I am now at work on a new book tentatively entitled The Money of the Poor.

In all my writing, I aim to cut across and sometimes challenge distinctions based on field, discipline, and even genre. My books have been reviewed everywhere from Radical Philosophy and the Journal of the History of Economic Thought to The New Yorker and World Commodity Reports. A co-authored side project was awarded the 2019 Cozzarelli Prize (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) for Behavioral Sciences.

I regularly review for The TLS and have also written for the Financial Times and The Atlantic.

Recent Publications

“The Truth about Booms, Busts, and Bubbles,” The TLS (January 15, 2021), here.

“This is what a Revolution Looks Like,” The Atlantic (July 4, 2020), here.

“The Revolution is Under Way Already,” The Atlantic (April 5, 2020), here.

Stuff and Money in the Time of the French Revolution (Harvard University Press, 2015).

The Invention of the Restaurant (Harvard University Press, 2000); new edition with foreword by Adam Gopnik, 2020.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
France, Western Europe
Expertise by Chronology
4, 5
Expertise by Topic
Capitalism, Food History, Material Culture