Paul Kershaw

Paul Kershaw

Assistant Professor


313-577-6987 (fax)

 3101 Faculty/Administration Building

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Paul Kershaw

Paul Kershaw is a historian of twentieth-century US and Mexican history, specializing in US and the World, the politics of economic development, and the history of capitalism.

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  • Modern U.S.
  • History of Capitalism
  • U.S. and the World
  • Modern Mexico


Kershaw's current book project investigates the intellectual and political development of International Monetary Fund (IMF) "structural adjustment" programs and demonstrates how those programs became the first-line response to a series of international debt crises. His research shows that the US government and the IMF worked out the general strategy of structural adjustment programs initially, in the early 1970s, as a concession to demands by less developed countries for greater access to the financial resources of industrial nations and then later through their responses to Mexican debt crises of 1976 and 1982. Kershaw is also interested in neoliberalism and capitalism as analytical categories, and in how we can make these terms useful for the purpose of explaining how disparate historical cases may share common causal features.


  • Ph.D., History, New York University, 2014
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1996
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Boston University, 1990

Awards and grants

  • University Research Grant, Wayne State University, 2022

  • History of Capitalism Faculty Fellowship, Charles Warren Center for the Study of American History, Harvard University, 2015-2016

  • Hagley Library, Exploratory Research Grant, 2014

  • Princeton Library Research Grant, 2008

  • O’Donnell Grant, Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs, 2008

  • Penfield Fellowship for Research in International Affairs, New York University, 2008

  • Gerald R. Ford Foundation Research Grant, 2007

Selected publications

 "Hamlet Without the Prince of Denmark: Bringing Capitalism Back into the 'New' History of Capitalism," Journal of Historical Sociology, v33, i1 (March 2020). doi: 10.1111/johs.12263

Averting a Global Financial Crisis: The US, the IMF, and the Mexican Debt Crisis of 1976," The International History Review, v40, n2 (2018), 292-314. doi:10.1080/07075332.2017.1326966

 "Hartford Labor Militants Fight the Spanish Civil War," (co-authored with Susan D. Pennybacker) Hog River Journal, Summer 2004.

Currently teaching

  • HIS 5070/7070, Comtemporary American History: 1945 to Present (4 cr.)
  • HIS 1400, The World Since 1945 (Asynchronous 3 cr.)

Courses taught

  • HIS 5300/7300, History of American Capitalism (Synchronous 4 cr.) Winter 2021
  • HIS 8030, Seminar Modern America (4 cr.) Fall 2020
  • HIS 5130/7130, U.S. Foreign Relations Since 1933 (4 cr.) Fall 2018
  • HIS 1400, The World Since 1945 (4 cr.), Winter 2018