"Things Taken as Given?": Economy, Governance, and Moral Ordering

Monday 27 June (10:00) - Tuesday 28 June 2022 (16:00)

Organized by Kate Skinner and Simon Yarrow

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The economy and economic institutions order the lives of everyone on our planet today, yet there is growing evidence that neither has the answer to the existential challenges faced by humanity: dramatic social inequality and ecological catastrophe.

It is urgent and long overdue for us, as historians and anthropologists from all backgrounds, collectively to identify and overcome the current constraints on our economic imaginations. At this workshop, we will seek to understand how and why certain human activities have been delimited from others and defined as ‘economic’, and to identify the effects of this evaluative partitioning of human experience. We will go on to ask whether more inclusive, diverse, and emancipatory economic poetics are recoverable from the sharing of deep historical contexts and global southern perspectives on the modern western myth of economy and its ordering logics.

Workshop Schedule 

  • The workshop will take place in Arts 119 for UoB staff and students.
  • External participants can access the workshop via Zoom – see links below.

Day 1

Zoom registration links Day 1

2pm Welcome 

2.15pm Panel 1 (chaired by Tom Cutterham, University of Birmingham)

  • How to think in and out of Anthropocene (Amanda Power, University of Oxford)
  • Entitlement and city building: a towards an anthropological theory of urban value (Marco Di Nunzio, University of Birmingham)
  • Economies of Risk, Responsibility and Care in the (post-) Covid Classroom (Dinah Rajak, University of Sussex)

4pm – Break 

4.20pm Keynote lecture 

  • Speaker - Milinda Banerjee (University of St Andrew’s)
  • Chair - Ilya Afanasyev (Stanford University)
  • Title - Against the Capitalocene: From Subaltern Community to Multispecies Democracy

Day 2

Zoom registration link for Day 2

9.10am – Panel 2 (chaired by Jessica Johnson, University of Birmingham)

  • Capital as Unhappiness: Rethinking the Economy in Colonial India (Shuvatri Dasgupta, University of Cambridge)
  • Exchanging Women in Eleventh-Century Italy: Monetisation and Fears of Conversion (James Norrie, University of Birmingham)

10.20am – Break 

10.30am – Panel 3 (chaired by Leslie Brubaker, Univesrity of Birmingham)

  • Commerce and nostalgia: material cultures and regimes of value in eighth-century England (Kate Sykes, University of Birmingham)
  • How Economic is Money? A View from the European Early Middle Ages (Rory Naismith, University of Cambridge)

11.40am – Break 

11.50am – Panel 4 (chaired by Chris Wickham, University of Oxford and University of Birmingham)

  • Transfers: starting simple when it comes to describing economic activity (Anthony Pickles, University of East Anglia)
  • Inheritance flows and the circuits of deceased estates (Maxim Bolt, University of Oxford) 1pm Lunch

1.50pm Panel 5 (chaired by Kate Skinner, University of Birmingham)

  • Constructing the Economy in Market Design: What Are the Questions? On the Recent Exchange between Michel Callon and Alvin Roth (Ivan Boldyrev, Radboud University)
  • Marching with the Times: Economic Numbers and Temporalities in 1960s Ghana (Gerardo Serra, University of Manchester)

3pm Roundtable (Simon Yarrow, Shuvatri Dasgupta, Maxim Bolt)

4pm Finish