About the seminar

We are launching an online seminar dedicated to early modern financial history. Early modern financial historians are a thriving community. Yet, only few papers on the early modern period are presented in financial history seminars. To our knowledge, there is no financial history seminar devoted to the early modern period. This seminar proposes to do that.

We invite papers investigating the history of early modern finance in its many dimensions: markets, networks, institutions, companies, projectors and middlemen, techniques and ideas, crises, and cycles, and more. What was the interplay between finance, society, and politics? How did financial practices shape, and were shaped by a region’s economic activity, the workings of government, a society’s gender norms or cultural forms? When was financial innovation driving social change, and when did it respond to it? How was finance perceived? We encourage works that consider the historical actors in their historical context. What were their practices and beliefs? What were their options and constraints?

A larger question that we want to address in this academic year is the very notion of early modern finance.  What may, or may not, make this period unique in the long history of finance? Which periodisation makes sense for our cases? Are our preferred boundaries in line with, or at odds, with prevailing ideas about early modernity, commonly dated between 1500 and 1800?

By training, the organisers have a focus on various regions in Western Europe and the European empires, but warmly welcome presentations on any regions in the early modern world broadly construed. Our seminar has been attended by scholars from the US, Europe, China, and Japan. We are open to researchers at any point in their career – from graduate students to senior scholars – wishing to present work that challenges their chosen field.

The seminar is not aimed only at an audience of early modern financial historians. On the contrary, we hope that the papers will be of interest to scholars working on different periods and topics.

The organisers of the 2022/23 cycle are (in alphabetical order) Stefano Condorelli (Bern University), Sebastian Felten (Vienna University), Nadia Matringe (London School of Economics), and Koji Yamamoto (Tokyo University).

We usually follow this format: The seminar will take place once a month during the academic year, always on Tuesday. The speaker records their presentation of approximately 30 minutes in advance and circulates it about five days before the seminar, alongside a paper where available. That enables participants to view the presentation at their convenience and prepare questions. Each session runs for 60 minutes. The speaker  opens the seminar with a 5-10 minutes summary of the key points. We will then move to the Q&A. Please note that if the speaker agrees, we will record the session. We will share the recording on request with colleagues who could not attend (but will not publish it online). By participating in our live online discussion, you agree that we reserve the rights to record the Zoom discussion in which you may appear and speak.

Please register here

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