Jacob Bruggeman

Jacob Bruggeman

Contact Information

Research Interests: 19th and 20th century U.S. history, history of ideas, social histories of capitalism in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, political economy, print media and identity, economic and cultural geography, American regionalism, midwestern history economic, cultural, and literary history

Jacob Bruggeman studies modern political economy and intellectual history with a focus on technology, policy, and media in the twentieth century United States.

His dissertation, “Securing the System,” explores how regulation, professionalization, and technological change reshaped the practice and significance of “hacking” in the 20th century U.S. and world. The dissertation investigates how communities of hackers debated the political significance of their practices as government agencies, corporations, and professions examined hacking as a novel genre of expertise—expertise that authorities in the public and private sectors simultaneously deemed dangerous and desirable. While tracing the emergence of a “computer underground” of hacker communities from the telephone hackers or “phone phreaks” in the 1970s to self-styled hacktivists in the 2000s, this dissertation tracks parallel efforts by those within law enforcement agencies, academic disciplines, and a newly formed computer security industry to discipline and then acquire hackers as experts.

Jacob’s work has been supported by the Association of Computer Machinery, the Hagley Museum and Library, the Charles Babbage Institute, and the Briscoe Center for American History. At JHU, his work is supported by the Center for Economy and Society, SNF Agora Institute, Program in Medicine, Science, and the Humanities, and the History Department.

Elsewhere at Hopkins, Jacob is an Associate Fellow at Johns Hopkins’ Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise. In 2024-2025, Jacob will be a Graduate Fellow at the Alexander Grass Humanities Center and a member of the International Policy Scholar Consortium at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs and the Carnegie Corporation.

Jacob received an M.A. in history from Hopkins in 2022, an M.Phil in Economic and Social History from Cambridge University, Darwin College, in 2020, and an M.A. in political science and a B.A. in history and political science, summa cum laude, from Miami University of Ohio in 2019. You can find him on X @jacob_bruggeman.