Mischa Suter profile

Mischa Suter

Spoken languages
German, English, French
Areas of expertise
  • History of science
  • European social history
  • Colonialism
  • History of capitalism
  • History and social theory
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • Western and Central Europe


Mischa Suter is a Swiss National Science Foundation Eccellenza Research Professor at the Graduate Institute since 2021. He is the Principal Investigator of a research project on the history of ethnopsychology, a scientific discourse that emerged in late colonialism. The five-year project studies the political implications of debates on the nature of the human psyche – particularly of people from the Global South – during the “long” moment of decolonisation, 1930–1980.

Mischa Suter’s work is located at the intersection of historical anthropology, social history, and critical theory. Trained as a historian of modern Europe, his previous work dealt with the question of what a cultural history of economic life might look like. His first monograph (published in 2016 in German, 2021 in an English translation, Chinese translation forthcoming) examined everyday indebtedness in nineteenth-century liberal capitalism. His second book (2024) traces conflicts over money as a societal medium in global German history, 1871-1923.

He received his PhD from the University of Zurich in 2014 and his Habilitation from the University of Basel in 2022. Before joining the Graduate Institute, he taught at the University of Basel and had visiting scholarships at the Committee on Globalization and Social Change at the CUNY Graduate Center, Humboldt University Berlin, the University of Vienna, Duke University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Michigan.

Selected Publications


  • Geld an der Grenze. Souveränität und Wertmaßstäbe im Imperialismus 1871–1923, Berlin: Matthes & Seitz, 2024.
  • Rechtstrieb – Schulden und Vollstreckung im liberalen Kapitalismus 1800–1900, Konstanz: Konstanz University Press, 2016.
    Translated as: Bankruptcy and Debt Collection in Liberal Capitalism: Switzerland, 1800-1900, transl. A. Bresnahan, Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press, 2021 (in the series “Social History, Popular Culture, and Politics in Germany”).
  • Chinese translation forthcoming under the title自由资本主义的破产和债务催收——以19世纪的瑞士为例, China Science and Technology Press.

Co-edited volume

(with Peter-Paul Bänziger), Histories of Productivity: Genealogical Perspectives on the Body and Modern Economy, New York: Routledge 2016.

Journal articles (selection)

  • “Koloniale Währungen: Medium der Macht”, Merkur 887 (April, 2023), 32–43.

  • Pathologien der Freiheit: Fanon und die Psychiatrie", (November, 2021)

  • “Moral Economy as a Site of Conflict: Debates on Debt, Money, and Usury in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century”, Geschichte & Gesellschaft, special issue 26: “Moral Economies”, edited by Ute Frevert (2019), 75–101.

  • “Usury and the Problem of Exchange under Capitalism: a Late-Nineteenth-Century Debate on Economic Rationality”, Social History 42, 4 (2017), 501–523.

  • “Debt and Its Attachments: Collateral as an Object of Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century Liberalism”, Comparative Studies in Society and History 59, 3 (2017), 715–742.

  • “Das Wissen der Schulden: Recht, Kulturtechniken und Alltagserfahrung im liberalen Kapitalismus”, Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte 37, 2 (2014), 148–164.

  • “A Thorn in the Side of Social History: Jacques Rancière and Les Révoltes logiques”, International Review of Social History 57, 1 (2012), 61–85.

  • “Jenseits des ‘cash nexus’. Sozialgeschichte des Kredits zwischen kulturanthropologischen und informationsökonomischen Zugängen”, WerkstattGeschichte 53 (2009), 89-99.


Member of the editorial boards of the journals Historische Anthropologie and Traverse – Zeitschrift für Geschichte / Revue d’histoire

Mischa Suter