Mallory Hope

Position title: Assistant Professor of History

Email: mhope@fas.harvard.edu

Mallory Hope headshot

Biography

I am an economic historian working within the field of Early Modern Europe, with a focus on the history of France. My body of work explores how pre-industrial societies coped with uncertainty and with the insecurity of property and resources.

Early maritime insurance markets are the unlikely point of entry into these questions in my current book project, titled Underwriting Risk: Trade, War, Insurance, and Legal Institutions in Eighteenth-Century France and Its Empire. The book starts with an archaic financial instrument, the marine insurance contract, which was an essential buttress for global trade in the early modern era, but it goes on to interrogate and to model quantitative reasoning during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The central question that motivates the book is, how did actors in early modern insurance markets translate the variegated risks that ships and cargo were exposed to at sea into a single number, an insurance premium? This project draws upon new and extensive archival sources: over 4,000 maritime insurance records from three French port cities (Marseille, Bordeaux, and Nantes), as well as Admiralty Court records, Chamber of Commerce minutes, and business letters.

During the current academic year and in 2023-2024, I have a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard’s Center for History and Economics. Here, I am in the beginning stages of research on a second project, which will continue to explore risk within the new frame of agricultural production and rural economic life. This project will focus on the management and conservation of strategic resources, forests and water resources, in the French Empire of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It will capture both the politics of securing such resources, and the concrete techniques and popular ways of knowing that were available at the time to ensure forests’ and other natural endowments’ viability in future generations.

When I join the faculty on campus in fall 2024, I will offer courses in the history of Early Modern Europe, Old Regime and Revolutionary France, the history of money and markets, and quantitative methods of historical research.

Education

Ph.D., Yale University
B.A., Vanderbilt University

Selected Publications

  • “Risk and Uncertainty in France’s Atlantic Slave Trade.” International Journal of Maritime History, forthcoming.
  • “L’expertise des derniers assureurs prémodernes.” In Les cultures de l’Assurance, XIXe-XXe siècle. Edited by Raymond Dartevelle and Fatiha Cherfouh-Baïch. Paris: Classiques Garnier, forthcoming.
  • “Commercial Networks, Maritime Law, and Translation in a Spanish Insurance Claim on Trial in France, 1783–1791.” In Maritime Risk Management. Essays on the History of Marine Insurance, General Average and Sea Loan. Edited by Phillip Hellwege and Guido Rossi. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2021.

Selected Awards

  • Prize Fellowship in Economics, History, and Politics. Harvard University Center for History and Economics. 2022-2024.
  • Sokoloff Fellowship. Economic History Association. 2021-2022.
  • Millstone Research Fellowship. Western Society for French History. 2019.
  • Cambridge University Press Pre-Dissertation Exploratory Grant. Economic History Association. 2018.