Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies
Professor of History and Public Policy

Edward Balleisen has served as Duke’s vice provost for interdisciplinary studies since 2015. In this capacity, Balleisen works with university-wide institutes and initiatives and each of Duke’s ten schools to foster collaborative, interdisciplinary research, teaching and engagement. He also oversees Bass Connections, an innovative program that each year catalyzes dozens of interdisciplinary, problem-centered research teams involving faculty, graduate students and undergraduates. A national leader in conversations about the need to reconfigure doctoral training to foster intellectual versatility and career diversity, Balleisen was the lead co-PI on Duke’s Versatile Humanists project, funded by a Next Generation Implementation grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

As a professor of history and public policy, Balleisen’s research and writing explores the historical intersections among law, business, politics and policy in the modern United States, with a growing focus on the origins, evolution and impacts of the modern regulatory state. He has pursued a number of collaborative projects with historians and other social scientists who study regulatory governance in industrialized and industrializing societies.

Balleisen’s most recent book is “Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff” (Princeton University Press, 2017), which received the Business History Conference’s 2018 Ralph Gomory Prize. In this wide-ranging history, he emphasizes the enduring connections between capitalist innovation and business fraud, as well as the vexed efforts by private organizations and state agencies to curb the worst economic deceptions. Along with Duke colleagues and collaborators Jonathan Wiener, Lori Bennear and Kim Krawiec, Balleisen also completed “Policy Shock: Recalibrating Risk and Regulation after Oil Spills, Nuclear Accidents, and Financial Crises” (Cambridge University Press, 2017) — an interdisciplinary volume that examines when and how industrialized democracies reconfigure regulatory institutions in the aftermath of major crises.

Balleisen has received grants from the Mellon, Teagle and Smith Richardson Foundations, as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. In 2018, he received the Business History Conference’s Harold Williamson Award, which recognizes excellence by a mid-career scholar. In 2019-20, he served as the BHC President.