Elizabeth Cross is a historian of eighteenth-century France and its empire, with an emphasis on the history of political economy and capitalism. She studied at the University of Chicago and Harvard University, where she received her Ph.D. in May 2017.
Her current book manuscript, tentatively entitled “The French East India Company and the Politics of Commerce in the Revolutionary Era,” traces the history of the last French East India Company during the late Old Regime and the French Revolution. Based on research in France, Britain, and the United States, her work argues that the circumstances surrounding this Company’s incorporation and dissolution further our understanding of the roles played by globalization and economic institutions in revolutionary political transformations. The Company was a site of economic and political experimentation by French government officials, intellectuals, and private financial actors who, in seeking to control the Company for their own purposes, clashed over differing visions of both the French Empire and the role of the state in the economy. The project thus explores how, in an age of revolutionary upheaval, the vicissitudes of the early, global economy shaped political and economic institutions on the national level. Her research has been supported by Mellon Foundation fellowships from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), in addition to the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (Newberry Library fellowship), the Minda de Gunzberg Center for European Studies, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. In 2018, she will hold a Visiting Fellowship from the Gustave Gimon Collection on French Political Economy from the Stanford University Library.
Dr. Cross teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses on the history of France and its colonial empire, the history of political economy and economic life, and the intellectual history of political corruption. In 2017-2018, she will be offering:
- EUH 3930-0003: The French Empire (undergraduate)
- EUH 3930-0001: Dirty Money: Political Corruption in the Western Imagination (undergraduate honors class)
- HIS 6934-0010: Politics and Economy in the Age of Revolutions (graduate colloquium, jointly with Dr. Rafe Blaufarb)