The fourth 'Money, Power and Print: Interdisciplinary Studies on the Financial Revolution in the British Isles, 1688-1776' colloquium was held at the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies at the University of Aberdeen from 17 - 19 June 2010.
Perhaps the best testament to the on-going usefulness of this endeavour was the question of one participant during the final session discussing whether to continue the biennial meeting schedule: 'Why would you even consider NOT having another one of these?'
As with previous colloquia, the formal sessions and papers formed the backbone of the event and the discussions during those sessions demonstrated the constructive benefits of genuinely interdisciplinary inquiry. We were all surprised each session by how much we had to offer to one another's understanding of the period. We each left Aberdeen better acquainted with the nuances and complexities of our areas of study and so better able to explain how those actions and ideas we are studying came to be in the first place. Better informed, we are also more familiar with the characters and accidents of those times.
Importantly, we also came away with friendships refreshed and new relationships formed that cross disciplines, national boundaries, age, and interests.
As in earlier iterations of the colloquia part of what remains is the personal—the Paul Tonks walking tour of Regina, Jim Hartley's recognition that 'normal people and economists' do share certain perspectives, memories of a library with no books on display. So, too, Aberdeen reinforced the rewards of a fully engaged group of colleagues, and as we left the oil capital of Scotland we were better informed also by:
- an impassioned case made that Archibald Hutcheson wasn't as bad an economist as some were making him out to be, a discussion that helped others of us understand just how economists evaluate each others' work
- the brilliance of a quick tour through some of the literary form of 'Absalom & Achitophel'
- the ability of yet another younger member of the group to go for a short walk and end up four miles away from the hotel
- a heartfelt opening informal evening Q & A about why the South Sea Bubble wasn't in fact a swindle
- the discovery that there was nothing in the least bit green about The Green in Aberdeen
- the commentary adapted from a mobile phone text feed of England's abysmal draw with Algeria interrupted with the vital report of a local GAA match just concluded in Ulster
- the idea of 'fractional reserve [car] parking'
- the spirit of Edmund Burke remaining, as per MPP tradition, largely honoured in spirit but not in word
Additionally, enough was heard about George Berkeley to last most participants some considerable time.
Individual participants at the Aberdeen colloquium, as was the case in St. John's, will likely develop their papers for publication in journals or as part of a book, but there are no plans to develop a second Money, Power and Print volume.
There is some interest in developing a volume that would focus on primary texts and use discussion of them as a way to understand better the interconnectedness of money, power and print in the years between 1688 and 1776. Perhaps that is something that might be discussed at MPP V.
Once again, a bibliography is available, as attached to this page. This time, we agreed to revert to an earlier practice and the resulting bibliography lists all print publications cited in the papers presented at the colloquium, excepting for minor changes to provide for consistency of bibliographic information where the text remains the same across editions and omitting citations that refer to complete runs of periodical publications. This bibliography is not password protected and all visitors to this site are welcome to make use of its resources and are encouraged to share details of its existence.
Participants also supported the idea of a separate bibliography to include texts referred to in the discussion of Robert Hume's 'The economics of culture in London, 1660-1740', but upon further review the discussants of the paper felt this would not, all in all, be as helpful as might at first have seemed likely.
One potential additional bibliography that might be worth compiling would be a list of all works published since the first Money, Power and Print colloquium by those who have attended and which owe some debt to the colloquia or to correspondence between colloquia participants after the fact. This project, if it is to happen, will be an activity for 2011.
The fifth colloquium will be held at the Citadel in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 14, 15, and 16 June 2012. Details will be posted on the MPP web site as they become available.
All the participants at the Aberdeen gathering expressed a belief that the current format works well and that the number of attendees is also appropriate, but we agreed on one major change to the program. In 2012, the first full academic session will offer a reading and discussion of Alexander Pope's 'Epistle to Bathurst' as we seek to secure some stake in the conversation for the literary component of 'print' in the colloquium's title, a previous omission suggested by the lively discussion in Aberdeen about the quality of John Dryden's 'Absalom and Achitophel'.
The home page of the Money, Power and Print web site has been redesigned and documents relating to the first three colloquia can now be found behind the 'archives' button. Requests to access any password-protected material can be directed to email@example.com.
Continuing the practice established in 2004, there is no listserv associated with the colloquium; however, a master list of people who might be interested in its activities is maintained and Chris Fauske is willing to distribute relevant information to that list at his discretion on behalf of those with a close connection to the colloquia. So far, this practice has worked well but it is important that such distribution remain occasional.
The organizers and other participants remain particularly grateful to Michael Brown, of the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies at the University of Aberdeen for his efforts on their behalf and for proving so gracious and wise a host.