Jonathan Eacott
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2008

Areas of specialization: Britain since 1750, British Empire, Early America, British India, Consumer Culture


Jonathan Eacott joined the Department of History faculty in 2008 after earning his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He also holds an M.A. in British History from Queen's University, Kingston and a joint B.A. in History and International Development Studies from McGill University, Montreal.


Eacott's research focuses on the British and their empire from the eighteenth century to the present. He is currently finishing his first book, Selling Empire: India Goods in the Making of Britain and America, 1700-1830. The book explores the far-reaching economic, industrial, social, and political importance of decisions made by Britons, colonists, and Americans to assimilate the production and consumption of such India goods as cotton cloth and umbrellas into their local economies and societies, while they associated other India goods, such as hookah pipes and palanquins, with the East. It argues that the empire developed as a consumption-based system with two critical parts. The first part was a political economy both consciously and unconsciously designed to generate revenue for the state to support its military and government apparatus. The distribution of India's products to Europe, Africa, and the British colonies in North America profited both individuals and the state. This political economy of empire depended on the second part of the system: an imperial aesthetic that elevated India's products in the minds of British, and later, American consumers from mundane items to necessary emblems of fashion, status, and ideology. Selling the goods of the empire thus became tied to selling and enacting the supposed good of the empire.


  • Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture Postdoctoral Fellowship (2009-2011)
  • Phillips Library Research Fellowship, Peabody Essex Museum (2010)
  • Program in Early American Economy and Society Postdoctoral Fellowship, Library Company of Philadelphia (2008, declined)
  • North American Conference of British Studies Dissertation Fellowship (2005-2006)
  • Institute of Historical Research Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, University of London (2005-2006)
  • American Historical Association Bernadotte E. Schmitt Grant (2005)
  • Winterthur Museum Gill Fellowship (2005) 
  • Program in Early American Economy and Society Fellowship, Library Company of Philadelphia (2004)


  • History Department, University of California, Riverside
  • Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, College of William and Mary
  • American Historical Association
  • North American Conference on British Studies
  • The Mellon Workshop on the Global Nineteenth Century


  • HIST 15: World History, 1500-1900
  • HIST 205B: Materials for English History: 1760 to the Present
  • HISE 152: Modern Britain, 1750-1990
  • HISE 145: World War I