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Dirk Philipsen, Associate Research Professor of Sanford School of Public Policy and History

Dirk Philipsen

Dirk Philipsen is an Associate Research Professor of Economic History at the Sanford School of Public Policy, and Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. His work and teaching is focused on sustainability and the history of capitalism and his most recent research has focused on GDP as the dominant measure of success in U.S. and international economic affairs. His work also includes historical explorations of alternative measures for wellbeing.

Raised in Germany and educated in both Germany and the United States, he received a BA in economics (College for Economics, Berlin, 1982), an MA in American Studies (John F. Kennedy Institute, Free University Berlin, 1987), and a Ph.D in American Social and Economic History (Duke University, 1992). He has taught at Duke University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia State University. For ten years, he served as Director of the Institute for the Study of Race Relations at Virginia State University, which he founded in 1997. In 2001-2002, he served as one of the lead authors in generating a new shared governance constitution for Virginia State University.

Dirk Philipsen has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Franklin Humanities Center at Duke, and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. He has published on the history of modern capitalism, movements for social and economic justice, as well as race and race relations. His first book, We Were the People, chronicles the collapse of communism in East Germany and was published by Duke University Press. Recently, he served as editor and contributor to a volume on Green Business, published by SAGE. His latest work is published by Princeton University Press under the title The Little Big Number – How GDP Came to Rule the World, And What to Do About It (Spring 2015.)

For further information, please go to DirkPhilipsen.com

Contact Info:
Office Location:  Sanford School of Public Policy, 201 Science Dr (Room 114), Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 613-7342
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:  http://DirkPhilipsen.com

Teaching (Spring 2022):

  • HOUSECS 59.33, HOUSE COURSE (SP TOP) Synopsis
    Crowell Qu CC 107C, W 07:00 PM-09:30 PM
    Rubenstein 153, TuTh 10:15 AM-11:30 AM
    (also cross-listed as ECON 270.01, ETHICS 271.01, HISTORY 284.01, POLSCI 252.01)
    Friedl Bdg 216, W 05:15 PM-07:45 PM
    Sanford 04, M 01:45 PM-04:15 PM
Office Hours:

Sanford School of Public Policy
Sanford Bldg, Room 114

Mo: 3:30 to 5:00
T/Th: 1:30 to 3:00

Ph.D.Duke University1992
M.A.Duke University1987
M.A.Free University of Berlin (Germany)1986

Recent Publications

  1. Philipsen, D, The Little Big Number - How GDP Came to Rule the World and What To Do About It (2015), Princeton University Press, ISBN 9780691166520 [html]  [abs]
  2. Philipsen, D, We Were the People Voices from East Germany‚Äôs Revolutionary Autumn of 1989 (1993), pp. 417 pages, Duke University Press, ISBN 0822312948  [abs]

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