Women, Money and Markets (1600-1900)
To celebrate the first year of the AHRC funded project, “Small bills and petty finance: co-creating the history of the Old Poor Law”, a joint investigation led by the Universities of Keele and Sussex, this year’s conference theme is ‘Petty Finance’. ‘Petty Finance’ not only refers to the perceived marginalisation of women's finances in traditional economic histories and literature and its historically ‘petty’ stature amongst academics, but also to the little-used records of female financial practice, including household bills, gambling records and so on, to which the ‘Small Bills and Petty Finance’ project is drawing attention and increasing ease of access through digitisation.
In keeping with the ‘Petty Finance’ theme we invite exploration, whether literary, historical or economic, of the experiences of women across the social spectrum. Although we welcome submissions on a wide range of topics connected with women’s involvement in the marketplace and finance, of especial interest to the conference are women involved in the receipt or delivery of relief; volunteerism; working class experience; trading networks; social and/or economic bonds forged between the poor and the non-poor; attitudes and emotions associated with wealth and poverty; women’s engagement in banking, finance, gambling, or exchange, especially as documented through bills, petty finance documents or other under-used sources.
The conference will address themes including consumerism, shopping, global trade, domestic trade, markets (literary and otherwise), currency, and varying practices of exchange. The conference is interdisciplinary in nature, bridging literature, material culture, gender studies and economic history, and aims to relate the debates of the period to modern day issues about the presence and position of women in the economy and media.
More broadly, we welcome submissions in the form of individual papers, panels and roundtable discussions on the following themes:
- The varying practices of women associated with currency, global and/or domestic markets and marketability
- Material practices associated with value, exchange and/or female creativity
- Women as investors, risk-takers or gamblers
- Women as producers and/or consumers in the literary or other marketplaces (including, but not limited to, food, clothing, agriculture and raw materials)
- Representations of women at work or women’s involvement in: Trade and industry; professional services (such as law, finance, hospitality and the media); domestic service; the rural economy
- The place of women in the literary marketplace (past and present)
We particularly welcome cross-cultural considerations of the above issues.