Timothy Shenk

Headshot Timothy Shenk

Timothy Shenk

Modern U.S.


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Timothy Shenk is a historian of the modern United States, with a particular focus on political and intellectual history. His first book, a biography of the Cambridge economist and communist Maurice Dobb, was published in 2013. He has just finished his second book, Realigners, a history of American democracy told through its dominant political majorities and the people who made them. He is currently working on two books. The first, based on his dissertation and under contract with Princeton University Press, chronicles the emergence of the idea of “the economy” in the United States during the twentieth century. The second, under contract with Columbia Global Reports, examines the remaking of leftwing electoral coalitions around the world over the last fifty years. 

Before coming to GW, Professor Shenk was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis and a National Fellow at New America. His work has also been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Jacob K. Javits fellowship program, among others. His writings have appeared in a number of outlets, including the New York Times, the Nation, the New Republic, the Guardian, the London Review of BooksJacobin, and Dissent, where he is also co-editor.


Maurice Dobb: Political Economist 

“Inventing the American Economy,” in Romain Huret, Nelson Lichtenstein, and Jean-Christian Vinel, eds., The Political Economy of the New Deal Order (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming in 2020).

“‘I Am No Longer Responsible for Its Actions’: E.P. Thompson After Moral Economy,” Humanity (forthcoming in 2020).

“Les savoirs de l’économie / Economic knowledge,” with Timothy Mitchell, in Christophe Bonneuil and Dominique Pestre, eds., Histoire des sciences et des savoirs / History of Science and Knowledge (Paris: Seuil, 2015).

Essays and Reviews

  • “Elizabeth Warren Was the Wrong Kind of Radical,” New York Times, March 5, 2020.
  • “Two Paths for Millennial Politics,” Dissent, Summer 2019.
  • “The Political Odyssey of Sean Wilentz,” The Nation, June 3, 2019.
  • “Already Great,” Dissent, Spring 2019.
  • “Right Privilege,” Dissent, Winter 2019.
  • “Crisisology,” The New Republic, September 2018.
  •  “Left to Their Own Devices,” Times Literary Supplement, February 9, 2019.
  • “Wonk Republic,” The New Republic, December 2017.
  • “Find the Method,” The London Review of Books, June 29, 2017.
  • “Dead Center,” The New Republic, January/February, 2017.
  • “The Secret History of Trumpism,” The Guardian, August 16, 2016.
  •  “The Only Game in Town?,” The Nation, March 7, 2016.
  •  “Apostles of Growth,” The Nation, November 24, 2014.
  • “What Was Socialism?,” The Nation, May 5, 2014. 
  • “The Long Shadow of Mont Pèlerin,” Dissent, Autumn 2013.
  • “A Marxist in Keynes’ Court,” Jacobin, Autumn 2013. (Adapted excerpt from Maurice Dobb: Political Economist.)
  • “Love in the Time of Capital,” Dissent, Summer 2012.

Ph.D., Columbia University, 2016