McCloskey, Deirdre N(ansen) 1942-
McCLOSKEY, Deirdre N(ansen) 1942-
(Donald N. McCloskey)
PERSONAL: Original name, Donald Nansen McCloskey; born September 11, 1942, in Ann Arbor, MI; child of Robert Green (an academician) and Helen (a singer; maiden name, Stueland) McCloskey; married Joanne Comi (a nurse), June 19, 1965 (marriage ended); children: Daniel, Margaret. Education: Harvard University, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1964, Ph.D., 1970. Politics: Libertarian. Hobbies and other interests: Latin, Greek, folk music.
ADDRESSES: Office—College of Arts and Sciences, University Hall M/C 228, University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 South Morgan, Chicago, IL 60607-7104.
CAREER: University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, assistant professor, 1968-73, associate professor of economics, 1973-80, associate professor of history, 1979-80; University of Iowa, Iowa City, professor of history and economics, 1980-99; University of Illinois at Chicago, distinguished professor, liberal arts and sciences, 1999—. Erasmus University of Rotterdam, professor, 1997—; distinguished visiting faculty fellow, University of California at Riverside, 2000. Organizer of conferences, 1970-90; lecturer, 1985-94.
MEMBER: American Economic Association, American Economic History Association, Economic History Society (England).
AWARDS, HONORS: Guggenheim fellow, 1983; National Science Foundation grants.
UNDER NAME DONALD N. McCLOSKEY
Economic Maturity and Entrepreneurial Decline: British Iron and Steel, 1870-1913, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1973.
Enterprise and Trade in Victorian Britain: Essays in Historical Economics, Allen & Unwin, 1981.
The Applied Theory of Price, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1982, 2nd edition, 1985.
The Rhetoric of Economics, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 1985.
The Writing of Economics, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1987.
Econometric History, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1987.
If You're So Smart: The Narrative of Economic Expertise, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1990.
(With George K. Hersh Jr. and others) A Bibliography of Historical Economics to 1980, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1990.
Knowledge and Persuasion in Economics, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1994.
Economics and the Historian, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1996.
The Vices of Economists, the Virtues of the Bourgeoisie, Amsterdam University Press (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1996.
The Rhetoric of Economics, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 1998.
EDITOR, UNDER NAME DONALD N. McCLOSKEY
Essays on a Mature Economy: Britain after 1840, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1972.
(With Roderick Floud) The Economic History of Britain since 1700, Volume I: 1700-1860, Volume II: 1860 to the 1970s, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1981, 2nd edition, 1994.
(With Allan Megill and John S. Nelson) The Rhetoric of the Human Sciences: Language and Argument in Scholarship and Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 1987.
(With Arjo Klamer and Robert M. Solow) The Consequences of Economic Rhetoric, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1988.
Second Thoughts: Myths and Morals of U.S. Economic History, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1993.
UNDER NAME DEIRDRE N. McCLOSKEY
The Vices of Economists, [MI], 1997.
Crossing: A Memoir, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1999.
Measurement and Meaning in Economics: The Essential Deirdre McCloskey, edited by Stephen Thomas Ziliak, E. Elgar (Northampton, MA), 2001.
Contributor to professional journals. Editor, Journal of Economic History, 1981-85; associate editor, Journal of Economic Perspectives; contributing editor, Critical Review and Reasoning. Member of editorial boards of several professional journals.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Research on bourgeois virtue.
SIDELIGHTS: Deirdre N. McCloskey has taught both economics and the humanities at the university level; the author has combined these two seemingly disparate subjects in her 2000 work How to Be Human—Though an Economist. McCloskey's approach to "humanizing" a dry science has "allowed her to bridge a gap between economics and literary studies," according to Reason writer Nick Gillespie. When asked by Gillespie why it was so "hard for economists to be human," McCloskey replied that throughout economic history "the central argument . . . has been that prudence [is] the preeminent virtue." But prudence alone, she added, citing Adam Smith, "is not a complete account of human beings. So if we are going to be complete, we need to recognize other virtues, too."
It behooves budding economists to realize that, suggested critic Peter Boethke of Humane Studies Review. Economic studies "often devolve into academic showmanship rather than a mutual engagement with ideas," Boethke noted. "We value smarts, not necessarily wisdom. Somebody, therefore, has to fill in the missing gap as our moral teacher. In modern economics the wisest teacher of the public morality" is McCloskey. In the critic's view, "a young economist who learns and practices the fifteen rules McCloskey lays out [in How to Be Human] will not only become a good economist, but also practice her economics while being a decent human being." In this book, remarked Times Literary Supplement contributor David Throsby, McCloskey "argues that love alters economic behavior in ways that are understood by anthropologists, psychologists, theologians or poets, but not by economists. She suggests that taking account of love requires economic analysis, 'but an economic analysis of people, not of blackboard phantoms.'"
The author was already firmly established as an economist when the then-Donald McCloskey announced in 1995: "I am cross-gendered, and, at age 53, having been a good soldier for over four decades, I am doing something about it. Not to startle you, but I am becoming a woman economist." McCloskey chronicled her transition from man to woman in both How to Be Human and in her 1999 memoir Crossing. More than 25,000 Americans have changed their gender, the book reveals; in McCloskey's case, the procedure included hair removal and was followed by "a tummy tuck and breast augmentation," Maxine Kumin wrote in a New York Times Book Review piece. "The facial reconstruction: reduction of the eyebrow ridge . . . , cheek and jaw surgery, an operation to reduce the nose, move the hairline forward, point the jaw, lift the eyebrows. The first voice operation was not successful, nor were subsequent ones." Kumin added that Crossing, beyond describing the arduous medical transformation of transgendering, focuses on "the gradual emotional evolution the writer experienced." Even after the procedure was complete, all was not well in McCloskey's life. "Sadly, his son, daughter and former wife turned away from this new person," noted Kumin. "But Deirdre McCloskey's mother and brother have been bulwarks of support, and her sister is moving toward reconciliation. She has finally stopped calling her 'Donald.'"
McCloskey told CA that, during the 1980s, she turned to "rhetoric" in economics and history. Her books in the "rhetoric of inquiry" have made her known throughout the social sciences and humanities. The author wrote: "My change of gender in 1996 corresponded with a turn toward ethical reflections. I am now a leader in bringing economics back to what I call 'the ethics of good old Adam Smith.'"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
McCloskey, Deirdre, Crossing: A Memoir, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1999.
American Historical Review, June, 1973; June, 1975.
Booklist, November 15, 1999, review of Crossing, p. 584.
Business History Review, autumn, 1972; summer, 1974.
Choice, March, 1974; November, 1998, review of The Rhetoric of Economics, 2nd edition, p. 569.
Journal of Economic History, September, 1974.
Journal of Economic Literature, December, 1997, review of The Vices of Economists, the Virtues of the Bourgeoisie, p. 2111; March, 1998, review of The Vices of Economists, the Virtues of the Bourgeoisie, p. 228; December, 1998, review of The Rhetoric of Economics, 2nd edition, p. 2212; June, 2001, review of How to Be Human—Though an Economist, p. 623; December, 2001, review of How to Be Human—Though an Economist, p. 1226.
Journal of Modern History, March, 1974.
Journal of Socio-Economics, November, 1999, Roger Frantz, review of The Vices of Economists, the Virtues of the Bourgeoisie, p. 777.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 1999, review of Crossing, p. 1477.
Library Journal, September 1, 1999, review of Crossing, p. 218.
New York Times Book Review, November 14, 1999, Maxine Kumin, "The Metamorphosis," p. 10.
Publishers Weekly, October 4, 1999, review of Crossing, p. 54.
Reason, May, 2001, Nick Gillespie, "Economical Humanism," p. 17.
Reference and Research Book News, August, 2001, review of Measurement and Meaning in Economics: The Essential Deirdre McCloskey, p. 76.
Times Literary Supplement, March 24, 1972; August 16, 1974; August 7, 1981; August 1, 1986; March 22, 2002, David Throsby, "Humans Can Apply," p. 28.
Washington Post Book World, May 17, 1987.
Humane Studies Review,http://www.humanestudiesreview.org/ (spring, 2002), Peter Boethke, "Being Human: What They Don't Teach in Graduate School."*