skip to content

Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles


After completing my History BA at Cambridge, I spent a year at Harvard as a Kennedy Scholar and Special Student. I subsequently returned to Cambridge to pursue my MPhil, and now PhD, researching at the intersection between environment, economics, and political thought. In 2021, I will take up a visiting fellowship at Duke University's HOPE Center.

My thesis focuses on the problem of finite earth in postwar political economic thought. I uncover a rich discourse of ecological political economy in American economics across the postwar decades. This discourse has, until now, largely been obscured. The thinkers I historicise developed a set of alternative models for the developmental future with the problem of a finite and fragile earth firmly in view. The political theory of finitude, as I term it, constituted a set of forgotten alternatives to the model of sustainable development that would eventually triumph in the late 1980s. Taking economics seriously as the political theory of the 20th century academy, my work seeks to draw out resources for contemporary environmental political theory.


Department: POLIS
Supervisors: Duncan Kelly and Duncan Bell
College: King's
AHRC subject area: Political Science and International Relations
Title of thesis: Finite Earth: Growth, Scarcity, and Futurity in Postwar Political Economic Thought.
 Hester  van Hensbergen