CFP: Bookkeeping, intermediation and financial organizations in early modern Europe

The growth of financial markets in Europe during the early modern period led to the creation of new practices and organizations. Previous research has mostly focused on private actors and personal relations. Thus, scholars have highlighted the role of social networks in building trust and reducing transaction costs, as well the strategy to use trusted individuals, such as notaries or leading merchants, as intermediaries between different actors. However, the early modern period also saw the rise of institutional actors, such as banks and corporate and governmental agencies. The authorities of these organizations had to gather and to act upon information about market conditions and market participants, and foster different actors’ trust in the organizations. An increasing clerical workforce played an important role in these processes.

This workforce constituted a body of knowledge and experience and was vital for the daily practice of building trust. However, it also created challenges for the authorities to instruct and to control the clerks, bookkeepers and secretaries. In other words, the management of the organizations had to build functioning relationships with the market participants while at the same time erecting administrative structures and procedures within the organizations.

With support of the Jan Wallander and the Tom Hedelius’ foundation, the Department of History at Uppsala University organizes on 5–6 December 2019 an international workshop entitled “Bookkeeping, intermediation and financial organizations in early modern Europe”.

The purpose of this workshop is to explore the different ways financial organizations in early modern Europe tackled issues concerning control, trust and market interaction. The key themes to be addressed are:

– The structure of everyday interactions between markets and organizations

– The creation of trust in financial organizations and the tensions between trusting individuals and trusting organizations.

– The role of bookkeepers and other clerical staff in the functioning of financial organizations and financial markets

– The education and practical training of the clerical staff

– The control mechanisms within financial organizations and the prevention of fraud

– The role of bookkeepers and other clerical staff in the functioning of financial organizations and financial markets

– The education and practical training of the clerical staff

– The control mechanisms within financial organizations and the prevention of fraud

Please send your proposals (title and summary of 150-250 words) by 31 May 2019 to Christopher Pihl (Christopher.Pihl@hist.uu.se) and Patrik Winton (Patrik.Winton@hist.uu.se)

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