Britain Hopkins

Summer Instruction, Other


Research interests include debt and indebtedness in contemporary society, market governance, and histories and geographies of liberalism.

My current book project, Indebted Subjects: The Making of the Student Loan Industry in a Neoliberalizing United States, examines the origins of the U.S. student loan industry between 1958 and 1973. It illuminates the federal-private partnerships which shaped the student loan industry at its inception while foregrounding how student loans have been used as a racializing and gendered technology to push back against the wins of the Civil Rights and feminist movements by tethering access to higher education to market incorporation. Complimentary to this, I am developing a program of archival research which looks at ways in which the burgeoning U.S. student loan industry influenced Chile’s initial program of student loans, which originated in the early 1980s.

More broadly, this research speaks to my interests in tracing U.S. empire, its forms of governance, and modes of citizenship through its relationship with liberal political economy and markets. To this effect, I have published articles or have articles forthcoming in the Journal of American History, Cultural Politics, the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, and Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. I have also designed and teach two courses at Wellesley which speak to my interests in U.S. global and domestic governance: ‘Feminist geopolitics: War, militarism, and everyday life’ (SOC 223) and ‘Contemporary politics of debt and indebtedness’ (SOC 229).

A geographer by training, I was Lecturer in Human Geography at St John’s College, University of Oxford, during the 2020-2021 academic year and taught topics from across the discipline, with a focus on Marxist and feminist approaches to market governance in historical and contemporary perspective. I completed my doctoral work in Geography as a Clarendon Fellow at Brasenose College, Oxford, in 2021.