David J. Hancock

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David Hancock

Business and Economic History;Atlantic World;Early-Modern Britain and Empire;Early-Modern Portugal and Empire;Colonial America

1029 Tisch Hall

Office Location(s): 2767 Haven Hall
Phone: 734.763.7859

  • Fields of Study
    • Business and Economic History
    • Atlantic World
    • Early-Modern Britain and Empire
    • Early-Modern Portugal and Empire
    • Colonial America
  • About


    David Hancock received an A.B. in history and music from the College of William and Mary, an A.M. in Music from Yale University, and an A.M. and Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. Trained as an Early Americanist, he began research in Britain, Europe and the Caribbean in 1985 and was one of the first scholars to view historical matters explicitly through an Atlantic-wide lens. He taught at Harvard University from 1990 to 1996, when he joined the Michigan faculty. He has been a Visiting Professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, 2003, and is currently a Visiting Professor and Research Fellow at Queen Mary’s School of Business and Management and its Centre for Globalisation Research, University of London, 2008. He directs Michigan’s Atlantic Studies Initiative, and serves on the editorial boards of Enterprise and Society, the list-serv H-Atlantic, History Compass, and Journal of the Early Republic.

    Selected Publications:

    Oceans of Wine: Madeira and the Organization of the Atlantic Market, 1640-1815 (2009). http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=9780300136050 

    “The Triumphs of Mercury: Connection and Control in the Emerging Atlantic Economy,” in B. Bailyn, ed., Soundings (2009), pp. 1-42.

    History of World Trade since 1450, with John McCusker, Stanley Engerman and Kenneth Pomeranz (2006).

    “Guerre et commerce (1750-1815),” in S. Marzagalli and B. Marnot, eds., Guerre et Économie dans l’Espace Atlantique du XVIe au XXe Siècle (2006), pp. 331-74.

    “Rethinking the Economy of British America,” in C. Matson, ed., The Economy of Early America: Historical Perspectives & New Directions (2005), pp. 71-106.

    “The Trouble with Networks,” Business History Review, 79 (2005), 467-491.

    “L’émergence d’une économie de réseau (1640-1815),”Annales, histoire, sciences sociales, 58 (May-June 2003), 649-72.

    The Letters of William Freeman, London Merchant, 1678-1685 (2002).

    Citizens of the World: London Merchants and the Integration of the British Atlantic Community, 1735-1785 (1995).

    Current Projects: 

    Developing Early American Frontiers: An analysis of four colonies in the Lower South and the West Indies between the end of the Glorious Revolution and the end of the Seven Years War. The study focuses on four aspects of development: peopling, financing, planting, and trading, and culminates in an assessment of the ability or inability of each to break away from Britain. Early analyses suggest that the similarities are greater than the differences among these colonies, and historians and economists should approach the Lower South, not as part of the South, or as a stand-alone region, but as part of a larger ambit embracing the Lower South and the Caribbean, and, yet, despite these similarities, the ability and desire to rebel in the Lower South and to persist in the Caribbean are rooted in their differences, particularly those having to do with population density and especially financial indebtedness.

    The Disappearance of the Market, 1607-2007: an architectural, commercial and environmental study of the evolution of the physical marketplace in America to something largely abstract, as public marketplaces were simultaneously split up and cleaned up and then moved out. As the concrete space became less relevant, the abstract concept of a market became more so.

    American Apprenticeship, 1670-1730

    The History of Shipwreck.

  • Education
    • Ph.D. Harvard, 1990