This seminar, directed by Craig Muldrew (Queen's College, Cambridge) on 7 and 8 March 2008, will provide a forum for interdisciplinary discussion of new ways of looking at economic causation, primarily through the conceptual importance of trust and connections. How were exchange relations created and maintained between historical actors as well as institutions, both in the marketplace and within other social and cultural spaces? With conversations organized around a core of advance readings and participants’ own research projects, the seminar will address such topics as the difficulties of organizing the exchange of value, whether it was payment for a barrel of beer or the obligation due to a neighbor or patron. How was trust structured in the marketplace of money, credit, and trade companies? How did people understand economic motivation? And how did “economic” motivation relate to the formation of other “connections” such as patronage, family, office holding, membership in guilds and societies, or friendship, all of which could provide material security or social advantage? A range of projects and perspectives are sought, from studies of the consumption of material household goods, including luxury goods; of credit and reputation in plays; of matters of linguistic instability and the financial revolution of the late-seventeenth century; and of the obligations of legal contracts.
Applications due 4 January 2008. Please visit www.folger.edu/institute for more information.
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