Dr Alexia Yates

Senior Lecturer in Modern History

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I am a historian of economic life, focusing on urban political economy and business history in Europe. My work on private development in urban environments aims to add to our understanding of the spatiality of human life by exploring how global processes are transformed and contested in the local production of social space. As a historian of capitalism, I focus on the cultural context of business practices in order to investigate and emphasize the role of moral economies in the structure and functioning of economic systems. I am interested in the study of economic life as a lens for questioning the status of the economy and the market in our contemporary historical moment.



Originally from Newfoundland, Canada, I completed my undergraduate studies at Smith College, undertaking honours work in the history of early modern Britain. A year abroad at Trinity College, Dublin brought conversion to the study of nineteenth- and twentieth-century France. I received my MA in history from the University of Toronto and a PhD from the University of Chicago. My doctoral work was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the French embassy’s Bourse Chateaubriand, and the Quinn Foundation. I held postdoctoral fellowships as a Prize Fellow in Economics, History, and Politics at the Center for History and Economics at Harvard University and a Mellon/Newton Interdisciplinary Fellow at the Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities at Cambridge. Most recently, I was an elected fellow at the National Humanities Center, USA. 

External positions

Research Associate, Center for History and Economics, Harvard University

Education / academic qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Modern European History, University of Chicago
  • Master of Arts, History, University of Toronto

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