Program 2022/23


Wednesday 16 November 2022
Rebecca L. Spang (Indiana University)
Making Money in the French Revolution

Wednesday 14 December 2022
Choon Hwee Koh (UCLA)
The Use of Credit in the Ottoman Empire: The Case of the Ottoman Postal System

Wednesday 11 January 2023
Nuno Palma (Manchester)
Goldilocks: American Precious Metals and the Rise of the West

Wednesday 1 March 2023
Mabel Winter (Sheffield)
Banking, Projecting and Politicking in Early Modern England: Some Insights from the Case of Thompson and Company 1671-1678

Wednesday 15 March 2023
Maria Fusaro (Exeter)
General Average and Risk Management in Medieval and Early Modern Maritime Business

Wednesday 12 April 2023
Takashi Kawato (Nagoya City)
Japanese Coinage in Maritime Asia, c. 1150-1660

Friday 28 April 2023
Debjani Bhattacharyya (Zurich University)
Atmospheric Politics in the Indian Ocean

In this talk I show how the underwriting practices that developed with Britain’s imperial expansion in the Indian ocean critically shaped the very parameters of meteorology in the early 19th century. Analyzing navigational journals and insurance cases fought in the marine courts in India and the admiralty courts in London, the talk reflects on why tropical cyclones, instead of becoming limits to be overcome through scientific forecasting, were instead financialized and made profitable through a brisk and thriving underwriting business. Bridging economic and environmental history, the talk documents how the very modalities and frameworks for assessing climate disturbance emanated out of these webs of insurance and trade that enveloped the globe during this period.

Talk in collaboration with Forschungschwerpunkt Wissenschaftsgeschichte at the University of Vienna and IFK International Research Center for Cultural Studies Vienna


Program 2021/22

Tuesday 26 October 2021
Christoph Dominik Blum (Tübingen University)
Thinking about the stock market system. The role of the stock corporation in the German Railway Mania

Tuesday 23 November 2021
François Velde (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago) with Lilia Costabile (University of Naples Federico II)
Monetary Crisis and Reform in 17th c. Naples

In 1622 a major foreign exchange and monetary crisis broke out in Naples. We examine the origins of the crisis, going back to the mid-1550s. A sequence of events (in particular policy decisions by the government) led to the replacement of full-bodied coinage by a mixture of inside money, issued by banks, and overvalued small denominations susceptible to clipping and counterfeiting. The clipped coins circulated at par domestically but the local currency depreciated on foreign markets. Contemporaries struggled to understand the problem and various solutions were attempted. When it became known that a planned reform might impose costs on coin-holders the exchange rate collapsed and prices exploded. The ensuing monetary reform required a bail-out the banking system.

Tuesday 14 December 2021
Francesca Trivellato (Princeton Institute for Advanced Study)
Commercial Credit in Pre-Industrial Europe

Tuesday 18 January 2022
William P. Deringer (MIT)
Mr. Aecroid’s Tables: Economic Calculations and Social Customs in the Early-Modern Countryside

Tuesday 29 March 2022
Craig Muldrew (University of Cambridge)
Land and Money: The Financial Revolution Revisited

The financial revolution is often simplified into a story of how the Bank of England was established as a Whig monopoly institution, and then successfully helped to financialise government debt in the form of shares. This success eventually gave it the ability to become a lender of last resort and a model for central banks. This linear success story is often contrasted with the failure of the largely Tory South Sea Company to do the same thing on a much larger scale. Also, earlier Tory proposals to financialise the value of agricultural land through the creation of paper money are also seen as failures, since no land bank was established in England. However, this paper will show that the value of land was in fact successfully monetized in various different ways in England, Scotland and the North American colonies, and that this development should be considered an equally important development of the financial revolution.

Tuesday 19 April 2022
Akinobu Kuroda (University of Tokyo)
‘Modernity’ as a Product of Global Delocalization of Money

Tuesday 7 June 2022
Karin Pallaver (University of Bologna)
Currency Circuits and the Disruption of Monetary Uniformity in Early Colonial East Africa

Tuesday 21 June 2022
Gareth Austin (University of Cambridge)
Money and Markets in Precolonial West Africa, c1450-c1900

Tuesday 28 June 2022
Olivier Accominotti  (London School of Economics)

Tuesday 12 July 2022
Debjani Bhattacharyya (University of Zürich)
Opacity and Precision: Marine Insurance and Underwriting in the British Empire (postponed)


Past speakers (2020-21)


Tuesday 8 june 2021

Amy Froide (University of Maryland, Baltimore County): Eighteenth-Century England’s Charitable Corporation: A Cautionary Tale of Microlending, Financial Fraud, and Government Bailouts

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Toby Green (King’s College London): Africa and Capitalism: Towards an Understanding of a History of Omission

Tuesday 6 April 2021

Yasuo Takatsuki (Kobe University): Microstructure of the First Organized Futures Market: The Dojima Security Exchange from 1730 to 1869(co-authored with Takashi Kamihigashi)

Tuesday 23 March 2021

Leonor Costa and Susana Münch Miranda  (Universidade de Lisboa): Restoring credibility. How Portugal financed its political independence (1640-1682)

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Sebastian Felten (University of Vienna): Assaying and alchemy: Metallurgical practices that underpinned Dutch currency (1600-1800)

Tuesday 8 December 2020

Nadia Matringe (London School of Economics): The intrabank clearing of international debts in 16th century Lyon

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Claudio Marsilio (Universidade de Lisboa): Rethinking the role of the Genoese bankers in the credit and bullion markets. New evidence from Genoese and Florentine private archives (1630-1700)

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