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Associate Professor
Faculty Director, Office of Distinguished Scholarships
Associate Chair and Director of Undergraduate Studies
473 Pauli Murray Hall
Office Hours: MW 10:00am-11:30am
waterhou@email.unc.edu
Curriculum Vitae
Personal Website

Education

AB Princeton University, 2000
PhD Harvard University, 2009

Research Interests

Benjamin Waterhouse is a historian of modern America. His scholarly research focuses on the culture and politics of business in the United States, especially since the mid-twentieth century. He supervises graduate students in fields related to business history, labor history, economic culture, and American politics since World War II. At UNC, Waterhouse offers courses in American business history, modern U.S. social and political history, the history of capitalism, and the history of finance and financial crises. His work has appeared in Aeon.co, Financial History, and Jacobin, among other outlets, and he has contributed several book reviews and op-eds to The Washington Post.

His first book, Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA (Princeton University Press, 2014) examined the role of large, national business associations—and their lobbyists—in shaping economic policy and conservative politics between the 1960s and the 1990s. His second book, The Land of Enterprise: A Business History of the United States (Simon & Schuster, 2017), provided a synthetic treatment of American business, labor, and politics from the colonial period until the 2008 Financial Crisis. His third book, One Day I’ll Work for Myself: The Dream and Delusion that Conquered America (W. W. Norton, 2024), explores how so many Americans came to believe that self-employment was the key not only to personal fulfillment but also to national economic growth.

Some Notable Publications

  • One Day I'll Work for Myself: The Dream and Delusion that Conquered America (W.W. Norton, 2024)
  • The Land of Enterprise: A Business History of the United States (Simon & Schuster, 2017). Translated and Published in Chinese by CITIC Press as 美国商业简史 (2019)
  • Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA (Princeton University Press, 2014)
  • "Donald Trump," University of Virginia Miller Center, U.S. Presidents, https://millercenter.org/president/trump (October 2022)
  • "The Small Business Myth," Aeon.co, November 2017

Graduate Students

  • This faculty member is accepting applicants for the 2024-2025 application cycle
  • Luca Azuma (Co-advised with Molly Worthen)
  • Julia Fournier (Co-advised with Katherine Turk)
  • Will Raby
  • Cristian Roberto Walk(Co-advised with Erik Gellman)

Courses Taught (as schedule allows)

For current information about course offerings, click here.

  • HIST 129 - Modern America, 1984 – 2024
  • HIST 289 - America in the 1970s
  • HIST 364 - The History of American Business
  • HIST 372 - Politics and Society Since the New Deal
  • HIST 398 - American Political History in the Twentieth Century (undergraduate research seminar)
  • HIST 489 - The History of the 2008 Financial Crisis
  • HIST 728 - Graduate Colloquium in American History Since 1865
  • HIST 880 - Global History of Capitalism, Graduate Seminar