Mendes Cunha, Alexandre

Alexandre Mendes Cunha is Associate Professor of Economics at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and Research Productivity Fellow of the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq). He was the head of the UFMG’s Centre for European Studies (2014-18) and Jean Monnet Professor (2015-2020), coordinating different grants by theErasmus+ Programme of the European Union. Since 2016, he has also served as a member of the Council of the European Society for the History of Economic Thought (ESHET).

He specializes in the history of economic thought and intellectual history, studying the international diffusion of economic ideas in different historical contexts, with emphasis on 18thcentury Enlightenment studies and Europe in the interwar and immediate post-war periods.

The primary focus of his recent research has been the dissemination of cameralism beyond the Germanic world and on police matters (in both the French and Germanic traditions) as an important aspect of economic governing during the 18thcentury, particularly in the context of Enlightened reformism.

His project to his residency at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg is to reflect on the influence of the enlightened reforms on transformations in the political economy discourse during the second half of the 18thcentury, with particular reference to the Iberian world. The idea is to use a broad case study as the gateway to the analysis of the particular combination of ideas that shapes reformist action and, in particular, the specific uses of the economic language in that context.

Selected Recent Publications:


  • Political Economy and International Order in Interwar Europe (co-edited with Carlos Eduardo Suprinyak). New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.
  • The Political Economy of Latin American Independence (co-edited with Carlos Eduardo Suprinyak). London: Routledge, 2017.


  • “Postwar third-way perspectives: François Perroux on national income and planning.” History of Political Economy(2020) 52(4): 653–682.
  • “The Reception and Appropriation of Malthus in Portugal and Brazil”(co-authored with José Luís Cardoso). In: Malthus Across Nations: The Reception of Thomas Robert Malthus in Europe, America and Japan (ed. Gilbert Faccarello, Masashi Izumo and Hiromi Morishita). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2020.
  • “Cameralist Ideas in Portuguese Enlightened Reformism: the diplomat Rodrigo de Souza Coutinho and his circuits of intellectual exchange.” In:Cameralism and the Enlightenment: Happiness, Governance and Reform (ed. Ere Nokkala and Nicholas B. Miller). London: Routledge, 2020.
  • “When development meets culture: the contribution of Celso Furtado in the 1970s.” Cambridge Journal of Economics (2018) 42(1).
  • “A Previously Unnoticed Swiss Connection in the Dissemination of Cameralist Ideas during the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century.” History of Political Economy (2017) 49(3): 497-529.
  • “Administrative Centralisation, Police Regulations and Mining Sciences as Channels for the Dissemination of Cameralist Ideas in the Iberian World.” In: Cameralism in Practice: State Administration and Economy in Early Modern Europe (ed. Marten Seppel and Keith Tribe). Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2017.