The Rod of Empire: Alcoa in the American South and Caribbean
In the first half of the twentieth century, the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) became the world’s largest producer of aluminum. The company’s growth depended not just on industrial innovation, but on investment in mines and mining towns in Arkansas and the British and Dutch Caribbean. While Alcoa has been studied as an early American “multinational,” the company was forged in a world of empires, not nations. A focus on empire helps us to better understand Alcoa’s ascent. But more than that, it helps us to see the history of American industrial capitalism in a global frame.
Respondent: Stefan Link, Dartmouth College
About the History of Capitalism Seminar Series
The History of Capitalism Seminar provides a works-in-progress forum for work from scholars at all levels. Proposals may consider a variety of subjects, including the history of race and racism, gender and feminist studies, intellectual history, political history, legal history, business history, the history of finance, labor history, cultural history, urban history, and agricultural history. Elizabeth Tandy Shermer (Loyola University Chicago) and Andrew Hartman (Illinois State University) are the co-coordinators of the seminar.