The 17th and 18th century saw tremendous developments in the practices and conceptualizations of political economy. Both in Britain and on the continent, a large number of writings, pamphlets and debates were devoted to the quest to understand, improve and often even revolutionize the conditions for production and circulation of goods. This entailed debates on not only practical matters of money and machines, but also the philosophical problems of finding the basic driving mechanisms of society’s wealth. Often, these questions were part of political questions in which arguments on the workings of the economy were extremely controversial. Researching such topics make historians able to understand how political economy gradually obtained the authoritative status of a science, often leaving other political and social agendas impaired. We invite doctoral students with projects along these lines to participate in this historiographical discussion with the aim of learning how to make historical arguments and theorize about these topics.
The one-day course will be chaired by assistant professor Stefan Gaarsmand Jacobsen and opened by a talk on theoretical approaches to writing the history of early modern capitalism and political economy by professor Carl Wennerlind from Barnard College, Columbia University, NY. Prior to the workshop, the participants are required to circulate a paper or sketch with their main ideas and problems (max. 2500 words). The paper will be read by the other participants, as well as by the lecturers. On the day of the workshop, the students will give a short presentation of their paper, which will be followed by feedback from both the co-participants and the lecturers, followed by a round table discussion.