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Sean Vanatta

Visiting Assistant Professor
sean.vanatta@gmail.com
(212) 992-3735
1 Wash Pl, Room 617

B.B.A. Marketing, University of Georgia, 2007
B.A. History, University of Georgia, 2007
M.A. History, University of Georgia, 2011
Ph.D. History, Princeton University, 2018

Sean H. Vanatta is a historian of modern political economy whose research and teaching interests cover American political, economic, and financial history. His book manuscript, Plastic Capitalism: Credit Cards and the Political Economy of Modern America (Yale University Press, forthcoming), reevaluates the rise of finance in the postwar United States and, with it, the rise and fall of New Deal economic liberalism. Beginning in the 1950s, the book argues, profit-seeking bankers exploited American federalism to avoid consumer regulations, using credit cards to connect far-flung consumers with volatile, global capital markets, leading to the indebted nation we know today. Articles derived from this work have been published in Business History Review (2016) and Enterprise & Society (2018), the former winning the 2016 Henrietta Larson Award for the best article in that journal. He is also the co-author, with Peter Conti-Brown, of The Bankers Thumb: The Institutional and Evolutionary History of Bank Supervision in the United States, which is forthcoming in 2019 from Harvard University Press. Prior to joining Gallatin, Vanatta taught interdisciplinary research seminars on modern credit markets and entrepreneurship and innovation in Princeton University’s Writing Program. He has also been the recipient of the National Endowment for the 2018 Humanities Hagley Postdoctoral Fellowship in Business, Culture, and Society and the 2015-2016 John E. Rovensky Fellowship in US Business and Economic History.

Teaching and Research Interests

American political and economic history; business and financial history; history of economic thought; the legal environment of business; public policy; innovation; economic justice

Sean Vanatta