Early modern financial history webinars

The sessions of the Early modern financial history online seminars will return by August or September 2021. Please see below for registration and more information.

Please register here

We are launching a series of online seminars dedicated to early modern financial history. Early modernity (15th-18th century) represents a fascinating period in the history of finance. It was a time of intense experimentation and innovation, which led to a far-reaching transformation of the European financial system, with profound political, social, and cultural consequences not only in Europe but also worldwide.

Early modern financial historians constitute a thriving community. Yet, early modern research forms a tiny minority of the papers presented in most financial history seminars. Currently, there is no financial history seminar devoted to the early modern period. This seminar proposes to do that.

Our goal is to investigate the history of early modern finance in its many dimensions: markets, institutions, firms, private operators, techniques, ideas, crises, cycles. What was the interplay between finance and the overall economy, the state, society and social change, culture, war, and colonial enterprises? We encourage works that consider the historical actors in their historical context. What were their practices, expectations, and beliefs? How broad was the range of possibilities open to them? Which constraints did they face? We will mainly focus on Europe and its colonies, but we will also explore non-European financial history. The seminar is not aimed only at an audience of early modernists. On the contrary, we hope that the papers will interest other scholars, starting with financial historians working on different periods.

The organizers are Stefano Condorelli, associate researcher at the Center for Global Studies of Bern University, and Koji Yamamoto, associate professor at the Graduate School of Economics at the University of Tokyo, with the support of the History of Finance network and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

The format of the seminar will be as follows:

  • The speaker will record her/his presentation in advance and circulate it about five days before the seminar, along with the paper where available. That will enable participants to view the presentation at their convenience and prepare questions beforehand if they wish to do so.
  • The speaker will begin the seminar with a 5-10 minutes summary of the key points. We will then move to Q&A, comments and discussion.
  • The seminar will take place once a month during the academic year, always on Tuesday.
  • The seminar may be recorded for future circulations.

Past sessions:

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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