Ideas in History: CFP for special theme issue on history of economic ideas

17 06 2012

We are interested in work that investigates the moral and cultural histories of economic rationalities and practice; work that traces the ways in which modern economic rationality became natural, and the ways in which it had to struggle (or collaborate) with religious and scientific authorities in order to gain legitimacy. Studies might concern various economic topics and practices, such as finance, poverty, markets, the state, regulation debates, statistics, money, insurance, etc., but it should investigate these from a perspective and/or methodology that can clearly be identified as affiliated with the discipline of intellectual history. Indeed, economic practices and rationalities offer great opportunities for being studied as representation, discourse, rhetoric, ideology, signs, symbols, etc., instead of merely being cold-hearted facts, graphs, figures, laws or objective truths that are not mediated through culture.

Full here: CFP, History of Economic Ideas.


“The Fictions of Finance,” a Call for Proposals for Radical History Review

20 01 2012

Across the humanities and social sciences, a new conversation has begun about the enigmas of capital, and of finance capital, in particular. This special issue of the Radical History Review on “The Fictions of Finance” aims to intervene in that conversation and to help to shape it. From geography, history, and literary studies to anthropology, sociology, and labor studies, there has been an efflorescence of work on finance and commercial capital, flourishing amid the current capital crisis and chronic “recession.” As a historical primer on the planetary intersections of the rhetorical and the operational dimensions of “The Fictions of Finance,” this issue is designed to knit together the disparate strands of these renewed conversations. In naming that theme, we mean to recover the old notion that finance capital is itself a kind of fabrication, an illusion—the realm of Marx’s “fictitious capital.” History provides a long record of cultural figurations of this fictionality, of the fraudulent productivity and magical profit of credit and speculation—from the “wind wheat” of Illinois to the “devil” of Colombia. But new modes of thought have continually helped to marginalize those responses and to naturalize the mechanisms of finance capital. In other words, to paraphrase cultural historian Ann Fabian, economic innovation and epistemological innovation have gone hand in hand.

With “The Fictions of Finance,” then, we mean to decipher a vast array of moral panics, conceptual revolutions, legal constructions, and discursive forms implicated and imbricated within the world histories of capital. This theme may point in many directions: genealogies of economic thought; the performativity of economic theory; finance capital’s institutional architectures, such as corporations and state bureaucracies; territorial sovereignties, geographical imaginaries or spatial materialities secured by finance capital; techniques of racial capitalism; and modes of imperialism and accumulation. We want this theme to mark out the space for an interdisciplinary conversation, rather than a strictly historical one, about the political economy of finance capitalism. We seek a cultural history, writ large, writ global, of the forms, concepts, subjects, and networks that finance capital elaborates. In other words, we’d like to emphasize critiques of capitalism and to foreground its logic, and, practically speaking, to emphasize provocative juxtapositions of topics.

Some possible topics this issue might explore include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Slave insurance, slave mortgages, and the corporealization of finance capital
• Speculation and risk as imperatives of capitalist citizenship
• “Time is money,” and other tropes of the transactionalism of everyday life
• Microfinance, credit-baiting, and primitive accumulation in the Global South
• Pin money and the domestication of finance
• FIRE economies and the rise of global cities
• “Ball pork”: the circulation of finance capital through built and natural environments
• Territorial and national sovereignties imagined by finance capital
• Shysters, Welfare Queens and other discourses of parasitism
• Radical critiques of finance capital, among theorists and activists around the world
• The grammar of finance, e.g., the categories of credit and debt (whether personal or national)
• The instruments of finance, e.g., double-entry bookkeeping and collateralized debt obligations
• Money as a narrative strategy, from the realist novel to conceptual art
• The personification of the market that speaks, sleeps, and stumbles
• Global cycles of finance capital and the temporality of history
• Finance capital and the scapes of modernity: HSBC as “The World’s Local Bank”
• The boundary between clean and dirty money
• The emergence of the concept of finance capital
• Homo Economicus: the productions of affect, desire, and subjectivity
• The legal “personhood” of business corporations

The RHR seeks scholarly, monographic research articles, but we also encourage such non-traditional contributions as photo essays, film and book review essays, interviews, brief interventions, “conversations” between scholars and/or activists, and teaching notes and annotated course syllabi for our Teaching Radical History section.

Visit the website at

Psychoanalysis, Money and the Global Financial Crisis

15 11 2011

This special issue of new formations brings together an international cast of psychoanalysts, cultural theorists, philosophers and critics to explore numerous aspects of the nexus between psychoanalysis, money and economics in the light – or shadow – of the latest global financial crisis. Asking not only what psychoanalysis can tell us about financial crashes, but also what crashes may reveal about psychoanalysis, it stages a confrontation between two disciplines that have been mutually indifferent and mutually opaque for much of the past 100 years.

Contributors: David Bennett, Geoff Boucher, Steven D. Brown, Paul Crosthwaite, Karl Figlio, Bruce Fink, Stephen Frosh, Jean-Joseph Goux, Campbell Jones, Viktor Mazin, Laura Mulvey, Benjamin Noys, Ian Parker, Daniel Ross, Matthew Sharpe, Bernard Stiegler, Tan Waelchli


David Bennett
‘Money Is Laughing Gas To Me’ (Freud): A Critique Of Pure Reason In Economics And Psychoanalysis

Bruce Fink
Analysand And Analyst In The Global Economy, Or Why Anyone In Their Right Mind Would Pay For An Analysis

Karl Figlio
The Financial Crisis: A Psychoanalytic View Of Illusion, Greed And Reparation In Masculine Phantasy

Viktor Mazin
The Meaning of Money: Russia, the Ruble, the Dollar and Psychoanalysis

Geoff Boucher and Matthew Sharpe
Financial Crisis, Social Pathologies And ‘Generalised Perversion’: Questioning Žižek’s Diagnosis Of The Times

Paul Crosthwaite
What A Waste Of Money: Expenditure, The Death Drive, And The Contemporary Art Market

Stephen Frosh
Psychoanalysis, Antisemitism And The Miser

Tan Waelchli
Psychoanalytic Reflections On The Nature Of Money: Authority, Regulation Of Standards, And The Law Of The Father

Jean-Joseph Goux
Pleasure And Pain: At The Crossroads Of Psychoanalysis And The Political Economy

Campbell Jones
What Kind Of Subject Is The Market?

Daniel Ross
Translator’s Introduction To Bernard Stiegler’s ‘Pharmacology Of Desire’ Drive-based Capitalism And Libidinal Dis-economy’

Bernard Stiegler
Pharmacology Of Desire: Drive-Based Capitalism And Libidinal Dis- Economy

Theme: Booms, Busts, and the Gilded Age

15 11 2011

Special section of Journal of Gilded Age & Progressive Era on Booms, Busts, and the Gilded Age:

Introduction: Reflecting on History when Markets Tumble, Scott Reynolds Nelson

The Politics of Economic Crises: The Panic of 1873, the End of Reconstruction, and the Realignment of American Politics, Nicolas Barreyre

A Financial Crisis in Prints and Cartoons, Scott Reynolds Nelson

The Freaks of Fortune: Moral Responsibility for Booms and Busts in Nineteenth-Century America, Jonathan Levy

A Storm of Cheap Goods: New American Commodities and the Panic of 1873 , Scott Reynolds Nelson

Cotton Booms, Cotton Busts, and the Civil War in West Africa , Andrew Zimmerman

Boom and Bust: A Comment , Sarah Abrevaya Stein


4 11 2011

Abstracts due December 21, 2011 (250-300 words; include contact info and short bio)

Final essays due Winter 2012 (4,000-8,000 words)

In the throes of a double-dip recession and the wake of the Dot-Com crash, we seek proposals for an edited collection tentatively titled Bust Culture: Notes from the Great Recession, with completed essays due in Winter 2012. We are soliciting articles on cultural artifacts from all forms of media (televisual, cinematic, literary, musical, as well as videogames, websites, fine art) that reflect, refract, and/or respond to the recessionary times of the 21st century. Considering that the current economic downturn is ongoing, we hope this collection offers a timely foray into comprehending contemporary “bust culture.” Possible topics include but are not limited to:

* Television (Critical-Realist, Reactionary, Reality: Breaking Bad, Pawn Stars, etc.)
* Films (Up in the Air, Wall St. 2, Larry Crowne, Horrible Bosses, etc.)
* Documentary Responses (Capitalism: A Love Story, Inside Job, etc.)
* Satirical News Sources (The Onion, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, etc.)
* CEO Portraits, Corporate Personhood, and White-Collar Crime
* Informal Economies, Black Markets, Prison Culture, Narcocultura
* Migrant Workers, Immigration, and Outsourcing
* Unions, Union-Busting, and the Legacy of Ronald Reagan
* Neoliberalism (Harvey), “Disaster Capitalism” (Klein), and Tea Party Politics
* “House Hunters” and Other Forms of Wealth Voyeurism
* “Mancession” and Blue-Collar Nostalgia
* Women in the New Economy
* Race and Racism in the Great Recession
* End of the “American Century”
* Bubbles (housing,, gold, energy)
* Financialization, Derivatives, and Computerized Stock Trading
* Cognitive Mappings of Bust Geography and Architecture
* Consumption: Advertising, Shopping, Fashion, and Marketing Trends
* DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Culture
* Religion and Apocalyptic Discourse
* Sports as Big Business

We aim to assemble a diverse collection of academically rigorous pieces accessible to the general public (non-academics are encouraged to submit). For further information, visit and!/BustCulture. Please direct all queries, questions, and submissions to

Kirk Boyle (UNC Asheville) and Daniel Mrozowski (Trinity College)

“Buy Now, Pay Later: A History of Personal Credit” Exhibition

27 10 2010

Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School announces the opening of a new exhibition – “Buy Now, Pay Later: A History of Personal Credit.  The exhibit will run from October 22, 2010 through June 3, 2011 in the North Lobby, Baker Library | Bloomberg Center, Harvard Business School.

There is a myth of a lost golden age of economic virtue. Once upon a time, the story goes, people lived within their means and borrowed only under the direst of circumstances. Debt was shameful, and credit financed only “productive” purchases like homes or farm machinery. Although nostalgia seldom makes good history, writers mourned this lost age through the Roaring Twenties, the rise of the credit card in the 1960s, and the home mortgage boom and bust of 2005–2008.

“Buy Now, Pay Later: A History of Personal Credit” demonstrates that while the instruments and institutions of twenty-first century credit—the installment plan, the credit card, and the home finance industry—are less than a century old, credit itself is as old as commerce. The exhibition draws from Baker Library’s Historical Collections materials to show how previous generations devised creative ways of lending and borrowing long before credit cards or mortgage backed securities.

Visit here to learn more about the history of personal credit, to find materials that could support further research, and to view some of the items featured in this exhibition.

Call for contributions: special issue of Journal of Cultural Economy

6 10 2010

Financial Panics and Crises: Cultural and Historical Perspectives

Special issue of the Journal of Cultural Economy
Editor: Mary Poovey

This special issue of the Journal of Cultural Economy addresses the history of financial upheavals. Topics may include the shortages in coin, bullion, or other monetary forms, which caused governments to intervene in a nation’s money supply; debates about how to define or prevent financial crises; accounts of specific panics and their impact; varieties of fraud or other criminal behavior that accompanied speculative booms; the role of the banking industry in various crises; literary or cultural representations of panics; and the global repercussions of past crises.

Article length—8,000 words
Deadline for submission of papers— 1 January 2011

Full details here.