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Sven Beckert of Harvard University to Deliver Benson Lecture

Posted by:
July 31, 2019

On October 9, 2019, the PLU community will welcome Sven Beckert of Harvard University to give the 15th Annual Dale E. Benson Lecture in Business and Economic History. The lecture will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Chris Knutson Lecture Hall, located in the Anderson University Center.

Professor Beckert is Laird Bell Professor of American History at Harvard, where he teaches the history of the United States in the nineteenth century, and global history. With Christine A. Desan, Professor Beckert is also the co-director of the Program on the Study of Capitalism at Harvard University.

Professor Sven Beckert. Photo by Charlie Mahoney.


Beckert’s bestselling book Empire of Cotton: A Global History (2015), is the first global history of the nineteenth century’s most important commodity. Empire of Cotton won the Bancroft Award, the Philip Taft Award, the Cundill Recognition for Excellence, and it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The New York Times named Empire of Cotton one of the ten most important books of 2015.

Professor Beckert’s other publications have focused on the nineteenth-century bourgeoisie, on labor, on democracy, on global history and on the connections between slavery and capitalism. He is currently at work on a global history of capitalism.

To prepare for this year’s Benson Lecture, PLU students will read selections from Empire of Cotton and study the history of capitalism in a variety of contexts, including curriculum related to American history, Economics, Global Studies, Business, and PLU’s new Innovation Studies program.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

The Dale E. Benson Lecture in Business and Economic History

Supported by a generous endowment from the Benson Family, the Benson Lecture is designed to bring leading experts in the fields of history, business, and economics to campus to address the PLU community. Supporting the Innovation Studies curriculum, the lecture is designed to encourage the study of business organizations, entrepreneurs, workers, products, and consumers, as well as the economic forces that have shaped contemporary culture and society.

For more information, contact Benson Family Chair Michael Halvorson (