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Professor Suprinyak

Department of Economics and Management

Professor Suprinyak

What is your research specialization?

I trained as an economist, from BA to PhD, but I specialize in historical scholarship. Broadly speaking, my research revolves around the history of political economy. Political economy is a big term that means different things to different people. I treat it as both a disciplinary field – an intellectual tradition dedicated to formulating abstract interpretations about how societies organize to satisfy their needs – and a space where this knowledge is brought to bear on political disputes about the proper rules and procedures for social provisioning. Under this big umbrella, my interests are diverse. I have published research on different historical contexts – early modern England, interwar Europe, Latin America during the Cold War – and touched on multiple topics, such as international trade, monetary theory, development economics, and policymaking.

What first brought you to AUP?

I worked for ten years as an economics professor in a large Brazilian public university. For personal reasons, I relocated to France in 2020 – right in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. AUP had an open position that was a great opportunity for me. One of the virtues of a small and flexible institution like AUP is that it is easier to make arrangements that are better suited to individual circumstances. Working in the anglophone, multicultural environment of AUP also made my transition to France much easier.

How would you describe your approach to teaching?

I have a deep respect for abstract, theoretical knowledge, and I try to communicate this attitude to my students. Even if theories may seem unrealistic and disconnected from reality at first – and economic theory can be especially vulnerable to such claims! – they still provide an organizational framework that helps us make sense of the confusion surrounding us. These frameworks are limited, but the answer can never be to dispense with theory altogether. We can’t abandon our ambition of arriving at a rational, encompassing understanding of reality, but true insight lies in the capacity to judge, in each case, what theory can or cannot explain. In my classes, I try to combine the importance of identifying the virtues of theoretical approaches with an understanding of the limitations of theory in making sense of complex real-world phenomena.

What do you think makes AUP unique?

The classroom environment at AUP is different from anything I’ve experienced before. The small groups make for an intimate, convivial atmosphere, where feedback from students is much more immediate. The sheer diversity of social and cultural backgrounds gathered in the same room has been challenging and rewarding. Interdisciplinary engagement with colleagues from other fields and departments has also come naturally – a healthy change of pace from the strict disciplinary boundaries that usually prevail in larger universities.

You can read more about Professor Suprinyak’s work on his faculty profile page. His history of economics podcast, “Smith and Marx Walk into a Bar,” is available online here.