Research Interests: 20th century US history; history of the social sciences; history of labor and management
Erik Baker is a lecturer in the History of Science Department and the director of the senior thesis program for the History & Science concentration. He received his PhD from Harvard and his BA from Northwestern University. His book project, Make Your Own Job: The Entrepreneurial Work Ethic in Modern America, explores the role of popular psychologists and management experts in transforming beliefs about work and success in the twentieth-century United States. He has published on the history of social science and American capitalism in Modern Intellectual History, History of the Human Sciences, and Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. He also writes widely for magazines such as n+1, The Baffler, and The Drift, where he is an associate editor.
Senior Tutorial (HS 99a/b); Science, Activism, and Political Conflict (HS 1950)
Science in Popular Culture (HS 1955)
“The Ultimate Think Tank: The Rise of the Santa Fe Institute Libertarian.” History of the Human Sciences (February 21, 2022), 1-26.
“From Planning to Entrepreneurship: On the Political Economy of Scientific Pursuit.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 92 (2022), 27-35.
“The Rise of Entrepreneurial Management Theory in the United States.” Modern Intellectual History (November 2, 2021): 1-25.
“The Productive Character: Cold War-Liberal Social Psychology from Totalitarianism to Entrepreneurship.” In Cold War Liberalism in the North Atlantic. Daniel Bessner and Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins, eds. Forthcoming.