Tutor: Natasha Glaisyer
Module type: MA Option
Module Code: HIS00033M
Credits: 20 credits
The need to increase state revenue in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to pay for military activities necessitated what has been called a financial revolution. Opportunities for speculation expanded: the Bank of England was established in 1694, the market in stocks took off, and lotteries, insurance and “projects” were all undertaken. This course will explore the cultural history of this revolution to answer such questions as: Who were the investors? How did financial knowledge circulate? Did lotteries offer the promise of rags to riches? Could bank notes be forged? How did satirists poke fun at the stock jobber?
These developments raised all sorts of problematic questions: What was behind all this paper money? Could it be trusted? How did these practices relate to gambling? What sort of challenges might the “projectors” of these schemes present? One way this course will begin to address such questions is to consider the overlap between the discourse, people and practices of the worlds of finance and natural philosophy in this period and particularly, the crucial roles of credit and knowledge practices.
In addition to a burgeoning secondary literature a wide variety of primary material will be used in this course: broadsides, ephemera, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, trade cards, diaries, playing cards and visual satires from Early English Books Online, the Eighteenth Century Collection Online, the British Museum’s print collection, online newspaper collections, online legal records and the general collection in the JB Morrell Library.
Seminars may include: