Vanessa Ogle

Associate Professor

I am a historian of global Europe from the 18th century to the present, focusing on the history of capitalism, economic history, and empire in global perspective. While my particular interests lie in Western Europe (Britain, France, Germany, mostly), I conceive of Europe broadly and seek to place European history in the context of its interactions with the wider world. The sprawling nature of capitalism and the world economy require an engagement with non-European history. Similarly, Europe's imperial and colonial past beyond the geographic boundaries of the continent is an important part of that history. My first book, The Global Transformation of Time: 1870-1950, explored the history of globalization, tracing changing political, economic, and legal regimes of time during an area of intensified interactions between Europe and other world regions. The book follows time in its different manifestations as social and economic clock time and calendar time from Germany, France, and Britain, to British India, the colonial world broadly, the late Ottoman Levant and Egypt, and the League of Nations. I consider this book a reflection on how to conceptualize the movement of goods, people, and ideas in global and international perspective. I published an article related to the book in The American Historical Review in 2013.

I am currently completing a project titled Archipelago Capitalism: A History of the Offshore World, 1920s-1980s. The book reopens the history of twentieth-century political economy and capitialism (in its free-market, neoliberal variety in particular) in Europe and beyond, by pointing to an economic,  legal, and political regime of smaller, often enclave-like territories and spaces that thrived on the sidelines of a world otherwise increasingly dominated by nation-states: tax havens, offshore finance, flags of convenience, and free trade zones. At the same time, the book provides the first archivally-based account of how 'offshore' came into existence as a sophisticated, far-flung system often beyond the reach of national regulators and governments. The book thus seeks to shed light on the origins of tax avoidance and evasion on a global scale, one of the most pressing current problems with profound implications for the rise of inequality throughout the twentieth century. The project uses a multi-archival approach that combines documents from over 30 national archives, central banks, multilateral institutions, private banks, and oral history interviews in locations such as Australia, Bahamas, Britain, Canada, Cayman Islands, France, Germany, Guernsey, Ireland, Jersey, Luxembourg, Panama, Singapore, Switzerland, and the US. A pilot article based off this work was published in The American Historical Review in December 2017. Another article on the intersection of decolonization and the expansion of tax havens is forthcoming in Past and Present.

Two new projects emerged out of my book on tax havens: the first is on the global economic and social history of shipping in the twentieth century. The second project sits at the intersection of economic history and legal history. It traces relations and conflicts between companies/investors and states, the evolution of different legal regimes for the protection of property abroad, and the gradual move of economic disputes to arbitration courts.

Since graduate school, I have maintained an interest in the histories and languages of the (Arab) Middle East, and relations between Europe and the Middle East are an additional area of expertise. 

As of summer 2018, I am part of  a team of researchers who work on environmental history. Titled "The Rise of Environmental Governance: A History of the Contemporary Human-Earth Relationship," the project is generously funded by the European Research Council (ERC). My contribution is an examination of how multinational corporations were involved with shaping environmental policies. Our team is based at KTH Stockholm, University of Cambridge, University of Sydney, and UC Berkeley. Please look out for conference CfPs if you work on related matters.

I am eager to work with graduate students in any area bordering my interests, and I am particularly enthusiastic about advising multi-archival, multi-linguistic projects that require training in different languages and national histories. Prospective students should contact me for advice on the application process.

Research Interests

Capitalism; Political Economy; Globalization; Rights and Legal Regimes; Natural Resources and the Environment; Empire and Colonialism


PhD, Harvard University

BA/MA, Free University of Berlin


Associate Professor, Late Modern Europe, UC Berkeley, 2017-

Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Modern Europe, University of Pennsylvania, 2011–2017

Select Recent Honors & Fellowships

Leverhulme Visiting Professorship, Kings College London, 2020-2021

Mellon New Directions Fellowship, 2018-2020

Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) Bernath Prize 2017 for best article, for "Archipelago Capitalism"

Berkshire Conference of Women Historians best article prize 2017 for "Archipelago Capitalism"

American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship,  2017 (awarded 2016)

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship for University Teachers, 2017-2018 (awarded 2016)

American Historical Association, George Louis Beer Prize for best book in European International History since 1895 (for The Global Transformation of Time),  2016 

Kathleen Fitzpatrick Visiting Professor in the Laureate Research Program in International History, University of Sydney, 2016

Berkshire Conference of Women Historians’ best book prize (for The Global Transformation of Time), 2016

Princeton University Shelby Cullom Davis Center fellowship, 2016-2017

Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) grant for "Archipelago Capitalism", 2015-2018

International Research Award in Global History 2016, awarded by Universities of Basel, Heidelberg, Sydney, for organization of a conference

Social Science History Association President’s Award best first book manusccript (for The Global Transformation of Time), 2014

Council for European Studies  best article prize (for Whose Time is It?), 2014

Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science, Princeton, NJ, 2013-2014


The Global Transformation of Time: 1870–1950 (Harvard University Press, October 2015).

  • George Louis Beer Prize, American Historical Association, 2016
  • Berkshire Conference of Women Historians best first book prize, 2016
  • Social Science History Association best book manuscript prize, 2014


“Funk Money”: The End of Empire, the Expansion of Tax Havens, and Decolonization as an Economic and Financial Event, forthcoming, Past & Present.

“Time, Temporality and the History of Capitalism,” Past & Present 243, no. 1 (May 2019): 312-327.

“Archipelago Capitalism: Tax Havens, Offshore Money, and the State, 1950s-1970s,” American Historical Review 122, no. 5 (December 2017): 1431-1458.

  • Bernath Prize, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), 2017
  • Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Prize, 2017

“State Rights against Private Capital: The “New International Economic Order” and the Struggle over Aid, Trade, and Foreign Investment, 1962-1980,” Humanity 5 no. 2 (2014): 211-234.

“Whose Time Is It? The Pluralization of Time and the Global Condition, 1870s-1940s,” American Historical Review 120, no. 5 (December 2013): 1376-1402.

“Die Kolonisierung der Zeit: Repräsentationen Französischer Kolonien auf den Pariser Weltausstellungen von 1889 und 1900”[Colonizing Time: Representations of French Colonies at the Parisian World’s Fairs of 1889 and 1900], Zeitschrift für historische Anthropologie 13, no. 3 (2005): 376-395.


“Global Capitalist Infrastructure and U.S. Power,” Cambridge History of America and the World, ed. Mark Bradley, vol. 4: The Twentieth Century, eds. David Engerman, Max Paul Friedman, Melani McAlister, forthcoming.

Professor Vanessa Ogle


2207 Dwinelle Hall

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