Friday, May 11, 2012

Capitalism by Gaslight Conference June 6-7

Inspired by the Library Company's current "Capitalism by Gaslight” exhibition, this conference will showcase innovative research being done by historians of capitalism and its culture. The 15 papers presented by scholars from around the country over the course of the two-day conference will examine the many ways in which Americans earned their livings through economic transactions made beyond the spheres of legitimate commerce.

Although these shadow economies may have unfolded off the books, they were crucially important parts of the mainstream economy, bound up in the development of commercial and industrial capitalism in 19th-century America. Panelists will analyze entrepreneurs’ creative, flexible, and adaptive means to success in their endeavors. Other papers examine cultural debates over the rules of legitimate economic engagement, where separations between legal and illegal, moral and immoral, and acceptable and 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 legitimate wholesale and retail businesses, calling into question the morality and legitimacy of legal economic transactions.  By bringing these economies out of the shadows, these historians seek to clarify what capitalism was and the ways in which it shaped 19th-century America.

No comments:

Post a Comment

LCP News Menu