Inspired by the Library Company's current exhibition "Capitalism by Gaslight," this conference highlights the innovative research being done by historians of capitalism and its culture, exploring the many ways people made money beyond the spheres of legitimate commerce. Presenters examine the cultural debates about the rules of legitimate economic engagement, what separated legal from illegal, moral from immoral, and acceptable from disdained activities. Papers discuss entrepreneurial figures such as smugglers, fortune tellers, dirty booksellers, used clothes dealers, and more, By bringing these economic actors and their activities out of the shadows, historians seek to clarify what capitalism was and the ways in which it shaped nineteenth-century America.
Everyone attending the conference should read the papers in advance. Conference papers can be downloaded from a password protected location. Details for access will be given upon registration.
The conference runs from Thursday, June 7 through Friday, June 8, 2012 and is co-sponsored by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and the Library Company of Philadelphia.
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