Why Choose the Hagley Program?

The Hagley Program is made up a vibrant community of highly motivated scholars interested in the history of capitalism, technology, and culture, broadly defined. In practice, students’ areas of interest include consumption, the history of the senses, environmental history, business history, and labor history.  Many Hagley students have a strong interest in material culture, and many get a certificate in Museum Studies.

The experience of the Hagley Program begins before classes start with multi-day orientation that takes us to a variety of  sites educational and industrial sits in the mid-Atlantic region that help begin a conversation about the materiality of industrialization and the ways it is presented to the public. In recent years, this has encompassed visiting with curators at the National Museum of American History in Washington; taking walking tours of nearby Philadelpha; and embarking on wide range of factory tours, including Mack trucks, Martin guitars, Knoll furniture, Herr’s Snack Food, and the QVC shopping channel studios. They also meet with librarians and reference staff to become familiar with the resources available at the Hagley Library in Wilmington, Delaware, where Hagley Scholars enjoy special privileges.

Hagley Scholars choose their own curriculum, but they all take a course in the history of capitalism (offered every two years) and one other designated course which rotates (the historiography of technology, the history of consumption, readings in cultural history, etc.).

Meanwhile, Hagley Scholars have their own working group, in which they exchange written work for others to read and comment on, prepare for conference presentations, or discuss published readings or issues the group is interested in.

The Hagley Scholars also host a series of book talks, in which they invite to campus authors of recently published books of interest to discuss their work in an intimate and informal setting. In the last few years, book talks have included:

  • Joseph A. McCartin, Georgetown University, Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, the Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike that Changed America (Oxford, 2011)
  • Kendra Smith-Howard, University at Albany-SUNY, Pure and Modern Milk: An Environmental History since 1900 (Oxford, 2014)
  • Bryant Simon, Temple University, Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks (University of California, 2009)
  • Jenifer Van Vleck, Yale University, Empire of the Air: Aviation and the American Ascendancy (Harvard, 2013)
  • Joshua Clark Davis, University of Baltimore, From Head Shops to Whole Foods: The Rise and Fall of Activist Entrepreneurs (Columbia, 2017)

All Hagley Scholars are invited to participate in the Hagley Library’s seminar series. Each also receives an annual allowance for travel and research expenses.