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Standing Faculty

Vanessa Ogle

Assistant Professor of History

Vanessa OgleVanessa Ogle teaches and writes about international history. Prior to joining Penn's History Department she completed a doctorate in International & Global History at Harvard University (2011) and earned a MA in Modern European History from the Free University of Berlin. She has received language and thematic training in both modern Western European and Middle Eastern history, and the interactions between Europe and the Middle East are one of her main areas of interest and expertise. In 2013-2014, Ogle is a member at the Institute for Advanced Study - School of Social Science in Princeton, NJ.

Ogle’s first book, “Contesting Time: The Global Struggle For Uniformity and Its Unintended Consequences” is a global history of time reform between 1870 and 1930. The book follows European and American attempts to make clock times, calendars, and social time more uniform, from international conferences to France, British India and other parts of the British Empire, German colonies in Africa, late Ottoman Beirut, Muslim scholars in the Eastern Mediterranean, and eventually to the League of Nations. Contesting Time shows how imposing universal norms like uniform time in societies that lived by other standards, triggered antagonism, prompted creative adoptions, and paradoxically, had the unintended consequence of creating even more difference. The book seeks to revise the conventional assumption that a more interconnected and economically integrated globe meant a more uniform and assimilated world in which nationalism and states no longer played a role. In addition to shedding light on the dynamics of historical globalization and an interconnected world, Contesting Time is a methodological intervention in the practice of global and transnational history and provides one model for writing the history of processes that encompass and affect potentially nothing less than ‘the world.’

Ogle's next book project, "Archipelago Capitalism: Decolonization and the Emergence of the Global Economy, ca. 1950s-1980s," explores the formation of a distinctly non-territorial and non-national economic and legal order that was put in place in the postwar decades and that would come to form the basis for today's global economy as it emerged in the 1970s. While the book will focus on Britain, Germany, the United States (in no particular order) and to a lesser degree, France, it is more a history of one aspect of postwar capitalism between the first and third world than a history of different countries.

Another project Ogle is pursuing is a legal and intellectual history of the question, who has the right to own and access natural resources like minerals, oil, and water. Starting in the late nineteenth century and ending with contemporary debates, the book shows how over the course of the 20th century, resource control has become one of the most contested issues of all times. Two world wars in the first half of the century prompted new approaches to allocating and conserving resources in times of scarcity. Simultaneously, colonial powers molded resource legislation across empires to suit their needs. With the onset of decolonization, newly independent states sought to establish their own sovereignty over nature’s riches, often through expropriation. At the same time, western multinationals snapped up extraction rights all over the developing world. On the local level, communities saw their livelihoods transformed by economic and environmental changes caused by extractive industries. And in the 1980s and 1990s, neoliberalism dictated such rights to resource exploitation be placed in the hands of private enterprise. What ties together all of these different resource regimes is the story of expertise and knowledge, the history of technical, economic, and legal experts dispatched to far-flung places to explore oil, gas, and mining reserves or rewrite water legislation.

Future interestes include a history of the Egyptian Society of Political Economy, Statistics, and Legislation, founded in 1909 in Cairo, as well as the history of Tangier from the 1880s to the 1960s.

Professor Ogle’s broader interests include international, transnational, and global histories especially of capitalism and more recently, the environment, European, Middle Eastern history, history of the Mediterranean and North Africa.




Contesting Time: The Global Struggle For Uniformity and Its Unintended Consequences, 1870-1930 (under contract with Harvard University Press).


“Whose Time is It? The Pluralization of Time and the Global Condition, 1870s to 1940s," American Historical Review 120, no. 5 (Dec. 2013): 1376-1402.

Winner of the Council for European Studies' First Article Prize in the Humanities for articles published during a two-year period between 2012 and 2013

"State Rights Against Private Capital: The 'New International Economic Order (NIEO)' and the Struggle Over Aid, Trade, and Foreign Investment, 1962-1981," Forthcoming, Humanity (2014).


Courses Taught (As Schedule Allows)

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