Dr Sean Vanatta

  • Lecturer in US Economic and Social History (Economic & Social History)

email: Sean.Vanatta@glasgow.ac.uk

616 Gilbert Scott, Main Building, University of Glasgow, g12 8qq

Import to contacts

ORCID iDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-1340-4720

Biography

I write about and teach modern American history, with an emphasis on the political economy of finance. I am currently working on several projects, which collectively address the intersection of democracy, finance, and the regulatory state in modern America. 

My book manuscript, Plastic Capitalism: Banks, Credit Cards, and the End of Financial Control (Yale University Press, forthcoming), reevaluates the rise of finance in the post-World War II United States and, with it, the rise and fall of New Deal economic liberalism. Beginning in the 1950s, the book argues, profit-seeking bankers exploited American federalism to avoid consumer regulations, using credit cards to connect far-flung consumers with volatile, global capital markets, leading to the indebted nation we know today. 

With Peter Conti-Brown, I am also writing The Bankers Thumb: A History of Bank Supervision in the United States (Princeton University Press, forthcoming)The book examines bank supervision--the processes of continuous government oversight of the financial system--from its development in the 1830s to the Volcker shock in the early 1980s. The book argues that supervision operates as a space where public officials and private bankers negotiate shared management of the residual risks of the financial system.

Finally, as I complete these book projects, I am engaging in a number of other ventures. First, I am examining how state employee pension plans, through their investment activities, helped reshape private financial markets and public welfare in the postwar United States. With Michael R. Glass, I develop some preliminary findings about New York State in an article appearing in Capitalism: A Journal of History and Economics. Second, I am developing a new project on global Great Depression, using foreign sovereign debt held by small, rural U.S. banks as a window onto the global financial networks that grew in the interwar years and collapsed and reformed in the 1930s.

---

 

I am currently a senior fellow at the Wharton Initiative on Financial Policy and Regulation at the University of Pennsylvania. I received my Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2018. Before that, I took MA and undergraduate degrees at the University of Georgia.

Before joining the University of Glasgow in September 2020, I taught in the Gallatin School for Individualized Study at New York University and in Princeton University’s Writing Program. I have also held the National Endowment for the Humanities Hagley Postdoctoral Fellowship in Business, Culture, and Society and the John E. Rovensky Fellowship in US Business and Economic History.

 

Research interests

  • Financial institutions and markets
  • Financial regulation and supervision
  • Consumer politics and activism
  • Economic planning
  • Federalism
  • Pensions and retirement
  • Public infrastructure
  • The history of capitalism
  • Financialization
  • Economic thought

Publications

List by: Type | Date

Jump to: 2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016
Number of items: 19.

2023

Vanatta, S. H. (2023) The financialization of US public pension funds, 1945–1974. Review of Social Economy, (doi: 10.1080/00346764.2023.2270458) (Early Online Publication)

Vanatta, S. (2023) Plastic Capitalism: Banks, Credit Cards, and the End of Financial Control. Yale University Press: New Haven. (In Press)

Ballor, G., Recio, G. and Vanatta, S. H. (2023) Surveillance archive: using reports in business history. Management and Organizational History, 18(1), pp. 43-53. (doi: 10.1080/17449359.2023.2179072)

2022

Vanatta, S. H. (2022) Benjamin Holtzman. The Long Crisis: New York City and the Path to Neoliberalism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021. xiii + 331 pp. ISBN 9780190843700, $34.95 (cloth). Enterprise and Society, 23(2), pp. 594-596. (doi: 10.1017/eso.2022.10)[Book Review]

2021

Conti-Brown, P. and Vanatta, S. H. (2021) The logic and legitimacy of bank supervision: the case of the bank holiday of 1933. Business History Review, 95(1), pp. 87-120. (doi: 10.1017/S0007680520000896)

Glass, M. R. and Vanatta, S. H. (2021) The frail bonds of liberalism: pensions, schools, and the unraveling of fiscal mutualism in postwar New York. Capitalism: A Journal of History and Economics, 2(2), pp. 427-472. (doi: 10.1353/cap.2021.0009)

2020

Vanatta, S. H. (2020) Histories of Bank Supervision. Bank Supervision: Past, Present, and Future, 11 Dec 2020. (Unpublished)

Vanatta, S. H. (2020) Automating Finance: Infrastructures, Engineers, and the Making of Electronic Markets. By Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2019. xvi + 357 pp. Illustrations, tables, appendix, bibliography, index. Cloth, $39.99. ISBN: 978-1-108-49642-1. Business History Review, 94(4), pp. 855-858. (doi: 10.1017/S0007680520000835)[Book Review]

Vanatta, S. H. and Pippenger, R. T. (2020) The gift. In: Creager, A. N.H. (ed.) Building on Stone: Perspectives on the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Fifty. Shelby Cullom Davis Center, Princeton University, pp. 7-13.

Vanatta, S. H. and Pippenger, R. T. (2020) "Let's Have at It": The Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Fifty. Davis Center for Historical Studies: Princeton, NJ.

2019

Vanatta, S. H. (2019) The Municipal Banking Movement: An Opportunity for Baltimore. Project Report. Abell Foundation, Baltimore, MD.

Vanatta, S. H. (2019) Market Rules: Bankers, Presidents, and the Origins of the Great Recession. ByMark H. Rose. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019. xiv + 258 pp. Notes, index. Cloth $39.95. ISBN: 978-0-8122-5102-9. Business History Review, 93(1), pp. 215-218. (doi: 10.1017/S0007680519000540)[Book Review]

2018

Vanatta, S. H. (2018) Brine, Kevin R. and Poovey, Mary, Finance in America: an unfinished story ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017. Pp. x+499. 3 figs. ISBN 9780226502045 Hbk. $110). Economic History Review, 71(4), pp. 1438-1439. (doi: 10.1111/ehr.12809)[Book Review]

Vanatta, S. H. (2018) Charge account banking: a study of financial innovation in the 1950s. Enterprise and Society, 19(2), pp. 352-390. (doi: 10.1017/eso.2017.42)

Vanatta, S. H. (2018) Economics and capitalism—a historiographical survey. In: Podair, J. and Dochuk, D. (eds.) The Routledge History of the Twentieth-Century United States. Series: Routledge histories. Routledge: New York, pp. 104-115. ISBN 9781138892071

2017

Vanatta, S. H. (2017) Jumping the Abyss: Marriner S. Eccles and the New Deal, 1933–1940. By Mark Wayne Nelson. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2017. Pp xxvi, 424. $39.00, hardcover. Journal of Economic History, 77(4), pp. 1236-1238. (doi: 10.1017/S0022050717000936)[Book Review]

Vanatta, S. H. (2017) Executive stewardship of America’s credit card economy. In: Rose, M. H. and Biles, R. (eds.) The President and American Capitalism Since 1945. Series: Alan B. Larkin series on the American presidency. University Press of Florida: Gainesville, FL, pp. 188-206. ISBN 9780813056524

2016

Vanatta, S. H. (2016) Protecting plastic: credit card fraud in historical perspective. In: Bátiz-Lazo, B. and Efthymiou, L. (eds.) The Book of Payments: Historical and Contemporary Views on the Cashless Society. Palgrave Macmillan: London, pp. 167-176. ISBN 9781137602305 (doi: 10.1057/978-1-137-60231-2_16)

Vanatta, S. H. (2016) Citibank, credit cards, and the local politics of national consumer finance, 1968-1991. Business History Review, 90(1), pp. 57-80. (doi: 10.1017/S0007680515001038)

This list was generated on Wed Apr 17 19:57:52 2024 BST.
Number of items: 19.

Articles

Vanatta, S. H. (2023) The financialization of US public pension funds, 1945–1974. Review of Social Economy, (doi: 10.1080/00346764.2023.2270458) (Early Online Publication)

Ballor, G., Recio, G. and Vanatta, S. H. (2023) Surveillance archive: using reports in business history. Management and Organizational History, 18(1), pp. 43-53. (doi: 10.1080/17449359.2023.2179072)

Conti-Brown, P. and Vanatta, S. H. (2021) The logic and legitimacy of bank supervision: the case of the bank holiday of 1933. Business History Review, 95(1), pp. 87-120. (doi: 10.1017/S0007680520000896)

Glass, M. R. and Vanatta, S. H. (2021) The frail bonds of liberalism: pensions, schools, and the unraveling of fiscal mutualism in postwar New York. Capitalism: A Journal of History and Economics, 2(2), pp. 427-472. (doi: 10.1353/cap.2021.0009)

Vanatta, S. H. (2018) Charge account banking: a study of financial innovation in the 1950s. Enterprise and Society, 19(2), pp. 352-390. (doi: 10.1017/eso.2017.42)

Vanatta, S. H. (2016) Citibank, credit cards, and the local politics of national consumer finance, 1968-1991. Business History Review, 90(1), pp. 57-80. (doi: 10.1017/S0007680515001038)

Books

Vanatta, S. (2023) Plastic Capitalism: Banks, Credit Cards, and the End of Financial Control. Yale University Press: New Haven. (In Press)

Vanatta, S. H. and Pippenger, R. T. (2020) "Let's Have at It": The Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Fifty. Davis Center for Historical Studies: Princeton, NJ.

Book Sections

Vanatta, S. H. and Pippenger, R. T. (2020) The gift. In: Creager, A. N.H. (ed.) Building on Stone: Perspectives on the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Fifty. Shelby Cullom Davis Center, Princeton University, pp. 7-13.

Vanatta, S. H. (2018) Economics and capitalism—a historiographical survey. In: Podair, J. and Dochuk, D. (eds.) The Routledge History of the Twentieth-Century United States. Series: Routledge histories. Routledge: New York, pp. 104-115. ISBN 9781138892071

Vanatta, S. H. (2017) Executive stewardship of America’s credit card economy. In: Rose, M. H. and Biles, R. (eds.) The President and American Capitalism Since 1945. Series: Alan B. Larkin series on the American presidency. University Press of Florida: Gainesville, FL, pp. 188-206. ISBN 9780813056524

Vanatta, S. H. (2016) Protecting plastic: credit card fraud in historical perspective. In: Bátiz-Lazo, B. and Efthymiou, L. (eds.) The Book of Payments: Historical and Contemporary Views on the Cashless Society. Palgrave Macmillan: London, pp. 167-176. ISBN 9781137602305 (doi: 10.1057/978-1-137-60231-2_16)

Book Reviews

Vanatta, S. H. (2022) Benjamin Holtzman. The Long Crisis: New York City and the Path to Neoliberalism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021. xiii + 331 pp. ISBN 9780190843700, $34.95 (cloth). Enterprise and Society, 23(2), pp. 594-596. (doi: 10.1017/eso.2022.10)[Book Review]

Vanatta, S. H. (2020) Automating Finance: Infrastructures, Engineers, and the Making of Electronic Markets. By Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2019. xvi + 357 pp. Illustrations, tables, appendix, bibliography, index. Cloth, $39.99. ISBN: 978-1-108-49642-1. Business History Review, 94(4), pp. 855-858. (doi: 10.1017/S0007680520000835)[Book Review]

Vanatta, S. H. (2019) Market Rules: Bankers, Presidents, and the Origins of the Great Recession. ByMark H. Rose. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019. xiv + 258 pp. Notes, index. Cloth $39.95. ISBN: 978-0-8122-5102-9. Business History Review, 93(1), pp. 215-218. (doi: 10.1017/S0007680519000540)[Book Review]

Vanatta, S. H. (2018) Brine, Kevin R. and Poovey, Mary, Finance in America: an unfinished story ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017. Pp. x+499. 3 figs. ISBN 9780226502045 Hbk. $110). Economic History Review, 71(4), pp. 1438-1439. (doi: 10.1111/ehr.12809)[Book Review]

Vanatta, S. H. (2017) Jumping the Abyss: Marriner S. Eccles and the New Deal, 1933–1940. By Mark Wayne Nelson. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2017. Pp xxvi, 424. $39.00, hardcover. Journal of Economic History, 77(4), pp. 1236-1238. (doi: 10.1017/S0022050717000936)[Book Review]

Research Reports or Papers

Vanatta, S. H. (2019) The Municipal Banking Movement: An Opportunity for Baltimore. Project Report. Abell Foundation, Baltimore, MD.

Conference or Workshop Item

Vanatta, S. H. (2020) Histories of Bank Supervision. Bank Supervision: Past, Present, and Future, 11 Dec 2020. (Unpublished)

This list was generated on Wed Apr 17 19:57:52 2024 BST.

Supervision

I would be excited to supervise research that focuses on modern American history, financial history, business history, or the history of capitalism--broadly defined. 

  • Li, Xin
    The Downfall of UK Pensions, 1960-2000

Teaching

Course Contribution 

Economic and Social History 1A and 1B

Researching Economic and Social History 1

Researching Economic and Social History 2

Honours module convening

Money and Finance in United States Society 

Masters module convening

Globalization of International Banking and Finance

Contributions to masters modules

The Globalized Economy

Business in the Global Economy 

 

Research datasets

Jump to: 2024 | 2022
Number of items: 2.

2024

Vanatta, S. (2024) Bank Examiner Turnover 1902-1931. [Data Collection]

2022

Vanatta, S. (2022) The Financialization of U.S. Public Pensions, 1945-1974. [Data Collection]

This list was generated on Wed Apr 17 19:57:53 2024 BST.