Julia Ott’s Histories of Capitalism Profiled in the New York Times
Academics are re-writing history, and this time, it’s from a capitalist’s perspective. After decades of focusing on minority groups, women, and the marginalized, scholars are turning their gaze towards those who have been instrumental in running the economy—the bankers, bosses, and Wall Street executives. Acting as a vanguard for this new discourse is The New School’s Julia Ott, an assistant professor of the history of capitalism at Eugene Lang College. Cited in a recent New York Times article as the first academic to be hired with such a title, her classes have an interesting approach. In Ott’s “Whose Street? Wall Street!” course, students dress in 19th century attire to re-enact the period of the Chicago Board of Trade, a key moment in financial history. Of course, it wouldn’t be New School if Ott’s class didn’t go against the grain. Where many educational institutions in the United States broach Marxist ideology hesitantly, she critically discusses fallacies in the opposing neoclassical models of economics that have been in vogue for the past 30 years.