Year Term Ends



Professor of History, University of California, Los Angeles

Peter Baldwin is professor in the history department at the University of California, Los Angeles and Global Distinguished Professor at New York University. He is interested especially in the historical development of the modern state—a broad field that has led him in many directions. Two aspects of his work unify it. First, he has attempted to understand contemporary issues from a long historical perspective.  That has included the class coalitions that cemented the modern welfare state, the nineteenth-century public health strategies that provided the template for fighting the AIDS epidemic a century later, and the battles over intellectual property that, stretching back three centuries, determine our current disputes over copyright, downloading, and internet piracy.  Second, he has studied the state’s development trans-nationally, using detailed and often archival sources in half a dozen languages to marry a broad comparative approach to rigorous empiricism. He has published books on the comparative history of the welfare state, on public health, and on the global development of copyright.  He published two books in 2021, one on the Covid-19 pandemic (Fighting the First Wave: Why the Coronavirus Was Tackled So Differently across the Globe) and on crime and the ever-lengthening arm of the law (Command and Persuade: Crime, Law, and the State across History), and a third in 2023 on open access, Athena Unbound: How and Why Scholarly Knowledge Should Be Free for All