In “Empire of Cotton,” Sven Beckert tells the epic story of the rise and fall of the cotton industry, its centrality to the world economy, and its making and remaking of global capitalism. The empire of cotton was, from the beginning, a fulcrum of constant global struggle between slaves and planters, merchants and statesmen, workers and factory owners. Beckert makes clear how these forces ushered in the world of modern capitalism, including the vast wealth and disturbing inequalities.
“Empire of Cotton” weaves together the story of cotton with how the present global world came to exist. The book won the Bancroft Award, The Philip Taft Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Sven Beckert is an American historian and Laird Bell professor of American History at Harvard University, with a particular emphasis on the history of capitalism, including its economic, social, political, and transnational dimensions.
The program starts at 6pm tonight at the Clinton School of Public Service.