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David Sicilia

Profile Photo of David Sicilia

Henry Kaufman Chair of Financial History and Associate Professor, History
Affiliate, Management and Organization, School of Business,

(301) 405-7778

2119 Taliaferro Hall
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Research Expertise

Economic History
Global Interaction and Exchange
Technology, Science, and Environment
United States

David B. Sicilia is Associate Professor in the Department of History and Henry Kaufman Chair of Financial History at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. His research and teaching center on business, economic, and technology history, with a special emphasis on the history of capitalism and finance. He divides his teaching between the History Department and the Smith School. 

Sicilia's first book – The Entrepreneurs: An American Adventure, with Robert Sobel (Houghton-Mifflin, 1986) – tells the stories of three dozen leading U.S. entrepreneurs across a range of industries. The two in-depth corporate histories that he published with Harvard Business School Press – Labors of a Modern Hercules: The Evolution of a Chemical Company (1990), with Davis Dyer; and The Engine That Could: Seventy-Five Years of Values-Driven Change at Cummins Engine Company (1997), with Jeffrey L. Cruikshank – explore the inner workings of two technology intensive multinationals and the broader trends they exemplified in postwar business. In The Greenspan Effect: Words that Move the World's Markets (McGraw-Hill, 2000) – voted a Library Journal Best Business Book of the Year – Sicilia and Cruikshank dissect the influence of the powerful Fed Chairman's public pronouncements on investor behavior. Sicilia's co-edited books are Kenneth Lipartito and David B. Sicilia, eds., Constructing Corporate America: History, Politics, Culture (Oxford University Press, 2004); David B. Sicilia and Robert Sobel, eds., The United States Executive Branch: A Biographical Directory of Heads of State and Cabinet Officials (Greenwood Press, 2004); and David B. Sicilia and David G. Wittner, eds., Strands of Modernization: The Circulation of Technology and Business Practices in East Asia, 1850-1920 (University of Toronto Press, 2021).

David Sicilia has received grants and fellowships from the United States-Denmark Fulbright Commission; the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Warren Center at Harvard University, and the Science History Institute, among others. Since 1980 he has consulted – independently and through The Cruikshank Company, Inc. and The Winthrop Group, Inc. – for a variety of private and public institutions that seek to apply historical analysis to contemporary issues. Consulted frequently by local, national, and international print and broadcast media, Professor Sicilia has appeared on CNBC, CNN Financial News, Bloomberg Financial Television, National Public Radio, DR-1 Danish Public Television, and NHK Television Japan.

His current book project is an institutional and social history of U.S. finance from colonial times to the present.