Call for Papers

This colloquium will gather scholars from the disciplines of history, literature, economics, politics, sociology and law to study the intersections between public finance, politics and literature during Britain's so-called Financial Revolution.

Papers should address contemporary public responses to one or more of the following aspects of the Financial Revolution:

  • Banking (Public or Private)
  • Joint-Stock Companies
  • Stock Markets
  • Projecting
  • Public Debt
  • Paper Money

Papers should explore how these financial innovations affected politics and literature or vice versa. For the purposes of this colloquium, the term literature is broadly defined to include newspapers, pamphlets, treatises, novels, plays, and prints. Authors must write for a non-specialist audience, striving to make insights from their own discipline readily accessible to scholars from other disciplinary traditions. Graduate students and emerging scholars are particularly encouraged to contribute.

Papers addressing any of the following questions would be particularly welcome (though authors should feel free to suggest other questions of the same general kind):

  • How did perceptions of public and private debt affect schemes for a Bank of Ireland and do these perceptions sufficiently account for the failure of those schemes?
  • Why were so few of the new financial institutions and practices emerging in England adopted in Ireland? Did public perceptions of the problems with England's new system of public debt have any role to play here?
  • Did the rise of the Bank of Scotland and the associated financial consequences have a noticeable impact on the country's politics and literature?
  • How seriously should we take contemporary literature complaining of stock jobbing and various other forms of financial corruption in the London stock market?
  • Did the South Sea Bubble and public reaction to it significantly alter the course of British discourse about public finance and politics?
  • For whom was projecting literature written and to what purpose?
  • Did literary, periodical, theatrical, or visual works have any significant effect on British politics and public finance?
  • Is there any substance to the claim of Swift and other contemporary pamphleteers that the political influence of government financiers grew significantly during this period, at the expense of the landed interest?
  • Did the emergence of a long-term public debt alter the day-to-day workings of British politics in any significant, verifiable way? And were any changes correctly understood at the time?
  • How effectively did the British government capture the savings made possible by the growing use of paper money?
  • In what context did Hume write his essay "Of Public Debt" and how influential was it with contemporaries?
  • What was the impact of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48) upon England's public debt and how well was this influence understood in contemporary pamphlet literature?
  • How did the revolution in Britain's public finances alter its plans for the colonies and how was this change of plans presented to the public?

Proposals may be submitted to either of the conference organizers listed below. Proposals of 250 words are due 15 December 2005. The program will be announced in February 2006. Accepted papers will be due on 1 May 2006 and will be circulated among colloquium participants in advance.

The colloquium is an initiative of Money, Power and Prose, a loose association of scholars interested in an interdisciplinary approach to the Financial Revolution. The association hosted a similar colloquium at Regina, Saskatchewan in summer 2004. A selection of the papers presented there should be available in book form later this year. The goal is likewise to publish a selection of the papers presented at the 2006 Colloquium.