Welcome to Broadstreet!

Today, we are very pleased to introduce Broadstreet. 

Broadstreet is a blog dedicated to historical political economy (HPE), which is the study of how political and economic actors have interacted over time.

HPE is explicitly interdisciplinary, and combines aspects of politics, economics, and history. It differs from much of economic history in the centrality of politics. It differs from much of political economy in that the context is historical. And it differs from much of history in its use of social-scientific theory and methods.

Our goal in creating this blog is to foster conversations across academic disciplines, principally economics and political science, but also history, sociology, and public policy. Correspondingly, our editors are drawn from these respective disciplines: 

    • Alexandra Cirone, Cornell University (Political Science)
    • Tracy Dennison, Caltech (History)
    • James Feigenbaum, Boston University (Economics)
    • Vicky Fouka, Stanford University (Political Science)
    • Scott Gehlbach, University of Chicago (Political Science)
    •  Jeff Jenkins, University of Southern California (Political Science)
    • Trevon Logan, The Ohio State University (Economics)
    • Jared Rubin, Chapman University (Economics)
    • Adam Slez, University of Virginia (Sociology)
    • Pavithra Suryanarayan, John Hopkins University (Political Science)

Given the boundaries that typically exist across academic disciplines, scholars who work on HPE rarely talk to one another or read each other’s work. Our intention is to break down some of these artificial boundaries, generate true cross-disciplinary dialogue, and produce better and more wide-ranging HPE research.

The blog’s name – Broadstreet – is a nod to the legendary John Snow and his study of the 1854 cholera outbreak in London. Snow found convincing evidence for a previously unproven water-born theory of cholera transmission, with a rigorous yet interdisciplinary approach — using detailed socio-economic data, ethnography, historical patterns of disease transmission, and early techniques of causal inference. The Broad Street water pump in London’s Soho district was not only a meeting place for the diverse residents of the neighborhood, but it also served as the focal point for Snow’s interdisciplinary breakthrough. While the Broad Street pump is no more, the legacy of this innovative research lives on. 

We hope that Broadstreet will be the go-to location for all those with interests in HPE. And in reading this blog, we hope that scholars and interested persons outside the academy will come to realize that much of what occurs in today’s political-economic world has roots in decisions made (and not made) many years ago.

Our plan is to unveil new blog posts every other day during the workweek — so Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Blog posts will take various forms. Some will describe our own research. Some will cover important new research in HPE more generally. Some may showcase new and interesting HPE data. Some may involve an exchange or discussion between editors. And some may include question-and-answer sessions with recent book authors or leading HPE scholars in the field. We will try different “post models” and see where they go. So the form and content of Broadstreet will develop organically over time. 

After we have established the blog a bit, we will invite outside scholars to submit guest posts. And, eventually, we may have enough content such that a new post appears every day during the workweek. 

For now, though, we look forward to fun and engaging HPE from our excellent list of editors. On Wednesday and Friday of this week, posts from Jared Rubin and Ali Cirone will appear.We look forward to you following us and leaving feedback on our posts! 

Author(s)

3 thoughts on “Welcome to Broadstreet!

  1. just a short remark from a historian of medicine: I like very much your name, and the illustration that shows the map of cholera outbreak –Snow’s main innovation, and one which indeed fits well the blog’s goals.

    On the other hand the celebrated inactivation of the Broad Street pump itself, that you describe as a the focal point for Snow’s interdisciplinary breakthrough, is a really nice story, but it seems that it had a minor, if any effect on the epidemics in the area, which was receeding anyway.

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