May 10, 2016 Bruce Carruthers Named Maguire Chair in Ethics and American History

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Jason Steinhauer (202) 707-0213

Bruce G. Carruthers, a sociologist of economy and law, has arrived at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress as the Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in Ethics and American History. His tenure began in May, and he will be in residence for four months.

Carruthers, who is the John D. MacArthur Chair and Professor of Sociology and director of the Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University, is the author or co-author of five books on markets, business, the economy and politics.

At the Kluge Center, Carruthers will research his book project, tentatively titled “An Economy of Promises: Trust and Credit in America.” He will deliver a public lecture on his work toward the end of his residency.

“Trust involves both uncertainty and vulnerability,” Carruthers said. “It becomes problematic when an individual is vulnerable to the unpredictable actions of another. How do people manage trust? Do they reduce uncertainty, vulnerability, or both? My project explores these questions by examining the development of credit and credit institutions in the United States from the early 19th until the mid-20th century.”

Carruthers’ most recent book, “Money and Credit: A Sociological Approach” examined the social dimensions of money and credit at the individual and corporate levels. His 2009 book “Bankrupt: Global Lawmaking and Systemic Financial Crisis,” co-authored with Terence C. Halliday, studied how global actors have shaped bankruptcy laws around the world.

At Northwestern, his areas of research include the historical evolution of credit as a problem in the sociology of trust, regulatory arbitrage, what modern derivatives markets reveal about the relationship between law and capitalism, and the regulation of credit for poor people in early 20th Century America. Carruthers has held visiting fellowships at the Russell Sage Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin. He has also received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1991.

The Cary and Ann Maguire Chair is a distinguished senior research position in residence at the Library appointed by the Librarian of Congress. Using research facilities and services at the Library of Congress, the scholar is expected to explore the history of America with special attention to the ethical dimensions of domestic economic, political and social policies, and present a lecture on the research at the end of the tenure. For more information, visit

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world's best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another, to distill wisdom from the Library's rich resources, and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For more information about the Kluge Center visit

The Library of Congress, the nation’s largest library in the world, holds more than 162 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at


PR 16-087
ISSN 0731-3527