Desmond Fitz-Gibbon


  • Associate Professor of History
  • Chair of History
  • Nexus Track Chair for Museums, Archives, and Public History
Desmond Fitz-Gibbon, Associate Professor of History, Chair of History, and Nexus Track Chair for Museums, Archives, and Public History

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Desmond Fitz-Gibbon teaches and researches the history of modern economic life in Europe, with an emphasis on Great Britain. His book, Marketable Values: Inventing the Property Market in Modern Britain (University of Chicago Press, 2018), examines how a market for real estate was organized as a distinct realm of economic life in nineteenth-century Britain. Though it was not the case that the buying and selling of land was particularly new at this time, it was true that the way land was bought and sold changed in many respects between the late-eighteenth and early-twentieth centuries. To really understand how modern market societies work, Fitz-Gibbon argues that historians need to pay more attention to forms of everyday economic life—from newspaper advertisements for real estate sales to the actions of real estate agents and their clients.

At Mount Holyoke College, Fitz-Gibbon teaches courses on Victorian London; Modern European History, the history of cities, and the history of energy. His course on the history of money is regularly taught in collaboration with the MHC Art Museum and its numismatic collections, and has resulted in a year-long, student-organized exhibit (“Money Matters: Meaning, Power and Change in the History of Currency,” 2019-20). He also teaches senior research seminars on the history of capitalism.

Areas of Expertise

Nineteenth-century Britain and British Empire; land and property politics; history of London; markets and market culture; theory and history


  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
  • M.Sc., University College London
  • B.A., University of Winnipeg


Recent Campus News

Mount Holyoke College’s Common Read for fall of 2022 is “Braiding Sweetgrass.” “Braiding Sweetgrass” centers Indigenous knowledge as an alternative or complementary approach to mainstream scientific methodologies.

Mount Holyoke’s first-year seminars aim to enhance students’ analytical and critical thinking skills via diverse topics — even superheroes.

Recent Publications

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