Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor

Ellen Hartigan Portrait

Position Title
Professor of History and Associate Dean, Graduate Studies

SSH 3204


  • Ph.D., History, University of Michigan, 2003
  • M.A., History, University of Michigan, 1996
  • B.A., East Asian Studies, cum laude with distinction in the major, Yale University, 1992


Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor is a specialist in early American and women’s history. In addition to her appointment in the History Department, she is Associate Dean for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars. She is an elected trustee of the Business History Conference, a founding and standing editor of Oxford Bibliographies Online—Atlantic History, and a board member of Women and Social Movements. She is a speaker with the Organization of American Historians’ Distinguished Lectureship Program.

Research Focus

Professor Hartigan-O’Connor’s research centers on the social and cultural history of economic life in 18th- and 19th-century America. She investigates how people used and thought about cash, credit, goods and exchange on a daily basis, with a particular focus on how women negotiated economies in early America. She is currently completing America Under the Hammer, about auctions and market culture.

With fellow UC Davis History faculty Lisa Materson, she co-edited the Oxford Handbook of American Women’s and Gender History (Oxford University Press 2018), which consists of 30 analytical chapters covering topics such as women and U.S. imperialism, interracial unions and state power, gender and sexuality in popular culture, and women’s work under free and unfree labor regimes.


  • Hartigan-O'Connor, E. and Materson, L., eds. (2018) The Oxford Handbook of American Women's and Gender History (Oxford University Press).
  • Hartigan-O’Connor, E., and Materson, L. (2018) “Women, Gender, and American History.” In The Oxford Handbook of American Women’s and Gender History, 1-16.

  • Hartigan-O’Connor, E. (2017) Chapters 6-10 of Global Americans (Cengage Publishing).

  • Hartigan-O’Connor, E. (2016) “Gender’s Value in the History of Capitalism,” Journal of the Early Republic 36 (Winter): 613-653.
  • Hartigan-O’Connor, E. (2016) “The Personal is Political Economy,” Journal of the Early Republic 36 (Summer): 335-41
  • Hartigan-O’Connor, E. (2015) “Public Sales and Public Values in Eighteenth-century North America,” Early American Studies (Fall): 749-73.
  • Hartigan-O’Connor, E. (2013) "Auctioneer of Offices: Patronage, Value, and Trust in the Early Republic marketplace," Journal of the Early Republic 32 (Fall):463-88.
  • Hartigan-O’Connor, E. (2011) “Witchcraft,” “Sex and Sexuality,” “Marriage and Family,” “Gender,” In Oxford Bibliographies: Atlantic History. Ed. Trevor Burnard (Oxford University Press) http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com.

  • Hartigan-O’Connor, E. (2009) The Ties that Buy: Women and Commerce in Revolutionary America, University of Pennsylvania Press.


Professor Hartigan-O’Connor teaches introductory surveys on American history (17A), American women’s and gender history (72A), and the History of Global Capitalism (14). I offer upper-division courses Gender and Justice in American History (171D), The American Revolution (170B), and Social and Cultural History of 19th-Century America (176A), as well as seminars (102K and L) on Sex and Society in Colonial America, American Capitalism, American Revolutions, and American Consumer History. In addition, I teach graduate seminars on Atlantic History (202H) and Cross-Cultural Women’s and Gender History (201Q)


  • American Historical Association Career Diversity Implementation Grant, 2018
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Fellowship, 2016
  • University of California Humanities Research Institute Grant, 2014
  • Social Sciences Innovation Award for Research and Scholarship, 2012
  • University of California, Davis Humanities Institute Grant, 2011, 2014
  • University of California, Academic Senate Committee on Research Grant, 2010-2018