Workshop - Early Modern Capitalism: Trade, Risk and Profit

This one-day workshop will bring together historians and economic historians who have worked on international trade, on early modern commerce and financial instruments and on family businesses and their networks. Much recent work on the history of capitalism has focussed on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Yet the foundations for many of the institutions and practices of commerce were laid down during the early modern period. Approaching this as a part of the history of capitalism allows a much broader treatment of economic parameters, bringing together economic and social historians who do not frequently connect. It will stimulate new research and projects across family history, business and economic history, and wider European and global history.


10:15-10:20 (The Medieval Kitchen, Brasenose College) Opening SessionMaxine Berg – Welcome and Introduction
10:20-12:00 Profits, Trade and TextilesChaired by Jane Humphries (University of Oxford)
Professor Mary O’Sullivan and Dr Lorenzo Avellino (University of Geneva) ‘Profits in Textiles – Linen and Silk’
Professor John Styles (University of Hertfordshire) ‘New Cotton Textiles: Pricing and Profits’
12:05-13:00 (Amersi Lecture Theatre, Brasenose College)
Professor Giorgio Riello and Dr Michael O’Sullivan (European University Institute) ‘Production in Early Modern Asia and the Limits of Trade-centric Histories of Commercial Capitalism’
13:00-14:00 (The Medieval Kitchen, Brasenose College) Lunch
14:00-15:30 (The Amersi Lecture Theatre, Brasenose College) Families, Businesses and International NetworksChaired by Victoria Gierok (University of Oxford)
Professor Martha Howell (Columbia University) ‘German and Netherlandish merchants in European trade 1400-1600’
Professor Susanna Burghartz (University of Basel) ‘Basel family merchants and manufacturers in Atlantic trade’
15:30-15:45 Tea
15:45-17:15 Merchants, Finance and International TradeChaired by Patricia Hudson (Cardiff University)
Professor Francesca Trivellato (Institute for Advanced Study Princeton) ‘Early Modern Financialization’
Dr Hunter Harris (Nuffield College, Oxford) ‘Financial Instruments and the City of London’
17:15-17:30 Conclusion and Thanks
17:30-18:15 Drinks in The Antechapel

The Workshop is fully booked; to join a wait list please contact Dan O’Driscoll