Teaching Fellows

Nicholas O'Neill

Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences Nicholas O'Neill

Area of Study

Department of History

Nicholas O'Neill

Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences

Nicholas O’Neill is a historian studying the emergence of capitalism in early modern Europe. His research focuses on how capitalist markets are created and how capitalism creates ideas about markets.

O’Neill’s first book project uses the French porcelain industry as a case study on the importance of consumer demand for industrialization. Drawing on institutional economics and material culture studies, his project argues that for a market to emerge operating on a global scope and at an industrial scale, mechanisms had to be invented to reassure consumers about the aesthetic and material qualities of the new goods they encountered. The collective efforts of merchants, manufacturers, and bureaucrats to create, communicate, and control consumer information made possible the transition from commercial to industrial capitalism, generated new conceptions of value and business practices, and made France the world’s leading luxury manufacturer. He also publishes on the history of economic thought from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries.

O’Neill received his doctorate in history from the University of Chicago, where he is a Teaching Fellow in History and the College currently teaching the series Power, Identity, and Resistance.