Associate Professor of History
Jeffrey Sklansky specializes in the intellectual, economic, and social history of capitalism in early America, particularly the history of political and economic thought. After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988, Sklansky received his M.A. (1991) and Ph.D. (1996) in History from Columbia University, where he did his doctoral work on the ideological roots of modern American social science.
From there he went to Northwestern University as a postdoctoral fellow in the Science in Human Culture program, then moved to Oregon State University in 1997, where he taught until coming to UIC in 2011. His first book, The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920 (University of North Carolina Press, 2002), won the 2004 Cheiron Book Prize from Cheiron, the International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences. His second book, Sovereign of the Market: The Money Question in Early America (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming in Fall 2017), examines the rise and fall of the two-hundred- year struggle over what should serve as money, who should control its creation and circulation, and according to what rules. His work has been supported by long-term fellowships from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Charles Warren Center at Harvard University, and the American Council of Learned Societies. He offers courses on the history of American capitalism, radicalism in American history, and early American social thought, among other topics. He also co-leads the Newberry Seminar in the History of Capitalism at the Newberry Library.
For potential graduate students, he is currently accepting new students in early American history, intellectual history, labor history, and the history of capitalism. His current research is on changing ideas about gift relations in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Anglo-American law, religion, and political economy. This new project examines how revolutionary reconceptions of private property, public authority, and market exchange emerged in response to the challenge of articulating claims to the use or value of resources that Americans neither produced nor purchased, but rather obtained by birth, inheritance, grant, or gift.
“Labor, Money, and the Financial Turn in the History of Capitalism,” Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas 11:1 (Spring 2014): 23-46.
“The Elusive Sovereign: New Intellectual and Social Histories of Capitalism, Modern Intellectual History 9:1 (April 2012): 233-248.
Office: 921 UH, MC 198