CFP: Histories of American Capitalism

16 01 2014

Cornell University, November 6-8, 2014
Proposals due: March 1, 2014

Thematic Clusters:
Gender and Sexuality
Built and Natural Environments
Race and Ethnicity
Intellectual and Cultural History
State, Migration, and Citizenship

Keynote and Plenary Speakers:
Orlando Patterson, Harvard
Guy Standing, University of London
Nancy Fraser, New School
Peniel Joseph, Tufts
Jackson Lears, Rutgers
Julia Ott, New School
Richard White, Stanford

The Cornell Conference on the Histories of American Capitalism invites panels and individual papers that seek to make connections between the diverse historiographic subfields of the last several decades and the recent interest in the history of capitalism. In short, we seek a path forward from the “cultural turn” while honoring its complexity. Our
starting clusters are listed above, but we are open to panels in other subfields as well. Our invitation is open to scholars at any stage of their careers. Please include a 500 word description and c.v. for each paper proposal.

Contact and Submissions:
Jefferson Cowie (

CFP: Critical Finance Studies conference

12 03 2013

The fifth Critical Finance Studies conference will be held at Stockholm University School of Business from August 14–16. This year we are again looking for contributions to our ongoing collaborative research project that seeks to engage finance in critically creative ways. Although critical attention is regularly devoted to finance, it generally takes the form of a call for transparency, or the systemic repair and restructuring of a paradigm in need of a shift. While finance is clearly a societal domain ridden with crisis, our sense of critique embraces the possibility of risky confrontations with the external powers that drive finance, as well as with internal, ethical combats that impact on the critic’s own situation within academic discourses on finance. We are, therefore, calling for contributions that take into account the relationship of the critic to finance and to discourses on finance, including received values, moral codes, authoritarian knowledge, political correctness, academic manners, common sense, good will, opinion and implicit presuppositions. We also invite papers that approach finance through avenues that have been underexplored such as theology, philosophy, art, music, film, new media and television, to give just a few examples.

Authors interested in publishing a paper in a special edition of the journal Critical Perspectives on Accounting entitled Critical Finance Studies will have the opportunity to do so. Please submit an abstract (no more than 500 words) to Thomas Bay ( and Joyce Goggin ( no later than 1 May 2013. Further info here.

CFP: Financialization and its Limits: History, Context, Culture

2 01 2013

Stream at Critical Management Studies 2013


Angus Cameron, Senior Lecturer in Spatial Organisation, University of Leicester School of Management.
David Harvie, Senior Lecturer in Finance and Political Economy, University of Leicester School of Management.
Geoffrey Lightfoot, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Accounting, University of Leicester School of Management
Simon Lilley, Professor of Information and Organisation, University of Leicester School of Management
Yuval Millo, Professor of Social Studies of Finance and Management Accounting, University of Leicester School of Management

Any discussion of the limits of neoliberalism would be incomplete with consideration of the roles of finance and financialization (Amato and Fantacci 2012). But, research within the social sciences of management, finance and, to a lesser extent, accounting has treated finance as standing apart from other disciplines. This has led to consideration of financialization as a unilateral process: that finance acts upon society as if it were wholly external and self-evident. This is, in part, derived from a particular conception of finance as a purely mathematical/quantitative field, although this formulation is relatively recent, emerging only in the 1960s with the so-called New Finance.

As a result, financialization, as it is understood today (Johal et al. 2006), masks, in effect, a process that is fundamentally emergent and therefore incomplete (Poovey 1998). In particular, valuation, which lies at the heart of finance, is routinely presented as an objective, unproblematic practice. Yet, we argue, valuation is always political, as it selects a single expression of value, excluding all possible alternatives (Martin 2002) and thus circumscribing the field of possibilities. This might be no problem whilst it remains within sterile models, but once the social and political acts of valuation interact with lifeworlds that have not been redacted to the same extent, the collision is always unpredictable and potentially violent.

We invite papers that explore these issues, possibly touching upon the following themes:

  • Big Society
    Cultures of finance
    Finance as methodology
    Financialization as performativity
    Food crisis
    Historicizing finance and histories of financialization
    Other financial imaginaries

Deadline 31st January 2013

Smithsonian Libraries Opportunities for Research 2013

4 03 2012

Situated at the center of the world’s largest museum complex, the Smithsonian Libraries is a vital part of the research, exhibition, and educational enterprise of the Institution. Each Smithsonian scholar engages in an individual voyage of discovery using the artifacts and specimens of the Smithsonian Institution in conjunction with the Libraries’ written and illustrated record of the past. The Libraries is uniquely positioned to help scholars understand the continuing vitality of this relationship, via exceptional research resources ranging from 15th-century manuscripts to electronic journals.

· The Spencer Baird Society Resident Scholar Program: Stipends of $3,500 per month for up to six months are available to support scholarly research in the Special Collections of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries in Washington, DC and New York, NY, in an extensive range of subject areas. Historians, librarians, doctoral students, and postdoctoral fellows are welcome to apply. For more information, click here.
·The Dibner Library Resident Scholar Program: Stipends of $3,500 per month for up to six months are available to support scholarly research using the history of science and technology rare books and manuscripts at the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Historians, librarians, doctoral students, and postdoctoral fellows are welcome to apply. For more information, click here.
· The Margaret Henry Dabney Penick Resident Scholar Program: The stipend for this long-term fellowship is $45,000 for nine consecutive months. Senior scholars are particularly encouraged to apply, however, applicants in their post-doctoral phase or, with outstanding achievements in their pre-doctoral phase may be also considered for the fellowship. This fellowship supports scholarly research into the legacy of Patrick Henry and his political circle, the early political history of Virginia, the history of the American Revolution, founding era ideas and policy-making, as well as science, technology, and culture in colonial America and the Early National Period. For more information, click here.

Debt: The Long View

4 03 2012

The Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University Presents:

The Money Series: Debt: The Long View

David Graeber, Goldsmiths College
Louis Hyman, Cornell University
Greta Krippner, University of Michigan
Moderator: Peter Goodman, Huffington Post

Thursday, 8 March, 6:15pm
Davis Auditorium, the Schapiro Center

This discussion of debt and finance will explore how debt has changed over time and its significance in our culture and society. Central to the conversation will be the role of the state and banks in shaping our debt regime and the significance of Occupy Wall Street and other social movements that seek to resist or constrain the control of debtors by their creditors.

For more information, please visit

Call for Papers: Immoral Business? Perspectives on Speculation, Speculators, and Scandalous Profits

12 01 2012

International Conference at Leibniz University
25 – 27 January 2013

Karl Christian Führer
Kim Christian Priemel and
Cornelia Rauh

Scholars are invited to submit proposals for original papers to be presented at an interdisciplinary conference in Hanover, Germany, in January 2013. The conference will explore how economic actions come to be labelled as “speculation” in different societies and in diverse historical periods. It will specifically address questions such as how speculative trading was and is operated, how states and societies react to the phenomenon of “speculation”, and how the incurred profits or losses are publically assessed.

The basic definition of economic speculation appears to be innocent enough: speculators anticipate changes in prices for certain goods and try to take advantage of these up- or downswings. While such deals may well be regarded as one of the most common traits of any market economy, speculation has often – and most prominently in the recent financial crisis – become a widely applied and easily understood pejorative term in political discussions. More often than not it is used in a moralistic discourse and as a synonym for “greed,” “irresponsibility,” or “recklessness”.

Defence of speculation is rare and hardly part of topical debates. However, economists, including free-market sceptics such as Paul Krugman, have frequently argued that even high risk speculations intended to disrupt the exchange rates of currencies can have positive, if unintended economic effects. More generally, speculation is often seen as a mechanism by which technical innovations are financed and the allocation of goods and resources is optimised. In some, albeit few cases, moral counter-arguments have been advanced: from a radical free-market perspective speculation can and historically has been presented as a form of “superior individual freedom” and accordingly as an essential element of any free society. Papers presented in the conference should not aim to decide these political and ideological feuds (although they might wish to side with one or the other). Instead they should make these perceptions of and perspectives on economic speculation and speculators the very object of their analysis. As markets do not evolve according to eternal, quasi-mechanical rules but are culturally coded and socially negotiated, economic actions take place in a social context which is shaped and influenced by human perceptions, emotions, knowledge, and beliefs – and thus liable to changes, inconsistencies, and contradictions. Profit-seeking individuals therefore do not act as (more or less well but certainly not perfectly informed) agents of static economic laws, but as members of social formations which vary significantly in time and space.

Speculation thus offers an excellent example to study economy as a historically contingent, socially constructed field of action. Its highly contested character clearly derives from a wide range of social interactions encompassing not only business protagonists (traders, brokers, shareholders, bankers, et al), but also politicians and state officials engaged in regulatory efforts as well as other stakeholders such as labour representatives, scholars, the lay public, and the media. As such, speculation offers a rich field for interdisciplinary and comparative studies. The conference, we hope, will be joined not only by historians and economists, but also by participants from Sociology, Anthropology, Theology, Criminology, and Media and Cultural Studies. Both papers on historical cases of speculation and on recent developments are welcome; internationally comparative presentations are especially encouraged. Participants should be prepared to give a 20 minute presentation at the conference followed by discussion.

Questions to be addressed in the papers may include: Which forms of “speculation” can be distinguished? Under what circumstances is speculation regarded as functional or as disruptive both in economic and in social terms? What are the differences between “speculators” and “ordinary” economic agents? Do the notions of “greed” and of “undeserved profits” necessarily form part of debates about speculation and speculators? Or is speculation only scandalized once it has failed? Can greed, as Gordon Gecko has it, be good?
In what way are speculation and its protagonists perceived by the general public of his or her time? Is there a public image of “the speculator” and – if so –who shapes that image at different times, in different places, and by what means? Is speculation a topic in high-brow art, the popular arts, and/or the media? Do economic actors conceive of themselves as speculators? Which efforts have public authorities historically made to prevent or check “speculation” and with what results? Are such policies tied to notions of a “moral economy” meant to control profits and self-interest for the sake of the “common good”?

Please send an abstract of 150 – 200 words of your paper along with a brief CV (one page at the most) to by February 15, 2012. All submissions should be sent as e-mail attachments (MS Word, Rtf, Pdf). At the moment, reimbursement of travel expanses cannot be guaranteed. However, we are optimistic that funding will be provided. There will be no conference fees.

CFP: Capitalism by Gaslight

15 11 2011

Capitalism by Gaslight: The Shadow Economies of Nineteenth-Century America

Date: June 7-8, 2012

Location: Library Company of Philadelphia

“Capitalism by Gaslight: The Shadow Economies of Nineteenth-Century
America,” an exhibition currently installed at the Library Company of
Philadelphia, showcases the many ways in which Americans earned a living
through economic transactions made beyond the spheres of “legitimate”
commerce. Entrepreneurs of this sort included everyone from prostitutes
and card sharps to confidence men, mock auctioneers, pickpockets, fences
of stolen goods, and many others.

Although these shadow economies may have unfolded “off the books,” they
were anything but marginal. Instead, they were crucially important parts
of the mainstream economy, bound up in the development of commercial and
industrial capitalism in nineteenth-century America. The shadow economy’s
successful entrepreneurs-women, people of color, and children among
them-had to be even more creative, flexible, and adaptive than
“respectable” counterparts. During this critical period, the rules of
“legitimate” economic engagement were still being established. What
separated legal from illegal, moral from immoral, acceptable from
disdained activities were far from settled issues. The practices,
networks, and goods that constituted shadow economies often paralleled and
in some instances overlapped with those found in wholesale and retail
businesses, calling into question the morality and legitimacy of legal
economic transactions.

To highlight not only the innovative research being done by historians of
capitalism and its culture but also the rich collections of the Library
Company that support study of these topics, the conveners seek paper
proposals for a conference on Thursday, June 7 – Friday, June 8, 2012,
that explore how shadow economies operated in the nineteenth-century
United States and examine the meanings Americans gave to them.

Please send a 2-3 page abstract and c.v. both to Wendy Woloson at and Brian Luskey at no later
than January 15, 2012, to ensure consideration.