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Grant number like: FEL-267760-20

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Timothy Shenk
Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD 21218-2608)

Research Programs

[Grant products]

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
2/1/2020 – 4/30/2021

An Intellectual Biography of the American Economy, 1896-2008

Research and writing leading to a book on the history of the concept of the modern economy in the United States.

The economy is perhaps the central topic of political debate today. The concept is so ubiquitous that we often assume it has been around since at least the time of Adam Smith, if not Aristotle. Yet familiarity has obscured its novelty. Far from being a natural feature of social life, the idea of "the economy" has a history--in crucial respects, a surprisingly recent one. "An Intellectual Biography of the American Economy, 1896-2008" explores the place of the United States in this history, examining the intellectual, economic, and political shifts that turned the economy into an object that experts claimed they could govern and that voters believed the government had a responsibility to manage. Weaving together studies of economists, institutions, and ideas, the book will uncover the history that turned an academic conceit into a cultural fact--and a political obsession. It is the story of an idea that was born much more recently than we usually assume.