Mimi Howard | Forscherin FellowEhemaliges Mitglied
University of Cambridge
PhD in Politics, University Cambridge 2017-2022
MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History, University of Cambridge 2016-2017
B.A. in History, Reed College 2011-2015
Periodizing Capital: From German Sociology through the Development Decade, 1900-1970
My post-doctoral project examines the different vocabularies that cropped up to describe affective and
economic shifts in the character of early twentieth-century capitalism (e.g., ‘finance capitalism’,‘late capitalism’, and ‘monopoly capitalism’), hoping to understand their context of their appearance more deeply, and their contemporary resonances more clearly. The first part of the project will look at the intellectual trajectory of periodization as a part of the reception of Marx’s critique of political economy in German sociological thought of the 1910s–30s, especially in thinkers like Sombart, Hilferding, and other participants in discussions about the changing nature of economic conditions in post-WW1 Germany. The second part will examine the unlikely transmission of these terms in the United States in the post-war period, when they were applied amid a context of discussion around 'modernization theory' and deindustrialization of the American economy. Further, in the 1970s, I hope to trace how political and sociological attempts to periodize capitalism were both disrupted and expanded as they dovetailed with Third Worldist critiques of development and stadial conceptions of history—contesting the narrative coherence of 'periodizing', in favor of 'systems'. While the project of periodization fizzled out, paradoxically, Sombart's term 'late-capitalism' peaked in the 1980s and has remained a fixture of public and academic discourse since. This project attempts to clarify the scope and remit of such terms, and contextualize debates over periodization as a characteristic feature of twentieth-century political and economic thought.