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Standing Faculty

Vanessa Ogle

Assistant Professor of History

Vanessa Ogle

Vanessa 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 was 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 1940. The book follows European and American attempts to make clock times, calendars, and social time more uniform, from international conferences to Germany and France, Britain, the British Empire/German Colonies/Latin America, British India, late Ottoman Beirut, scholars of Islam in the Eastern Mediterranean, and eventually to the League of Nations. Contesting Time shows how the circulation of universal norms like uniform time had the unintended consequence of creating even more difference. The book argues that time remained inherently heterogeneous and unstable up until the 1930s and 1940s. One reason for the slow advance of uniform time was the technological and legal difficulty of implementing it; another was the social imaginary of Europeans and Americans who were unable to grasp time as an abstract grid. Yet the main reason was the way in which ideas moved, or were expressed simultaneously in response to similar developments: The spread of ideas as well as their simultaneous emergence in different parts of the globe often led to a nationalization and regionalization of the world. The book seeks to illuminate the perhaps most challenging question that global historians of the nineteenth century face: the relationship between the growing interconnectedness and integration of the world and the simultaneous entrenchment of national and regional divisions.  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 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 from the 1970s and 1980s. The book will focus on Britain, Germany, the United States, and France. 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. 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 global, transnational, and international histories especially of capitalism and globalization, 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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