The Social and Economic Life of Money: From the Medieval to the Modern

For a good few years now, I’ve been popping up at conferences and workshops and seminars, making the case for adopting a cross-disciplinary way of thinking about money in modern life. So I guess I’d put my views on money histories on the radar by the time the Social History Society and the Economic History Society decided they wanted to collaborate more. Hence the support both societies have offered to Matt Pawelski and myself in putting on a one-day workshop, bringing together medieval, early modern and modern scholars interested in these everyday intersections of economic and social history.

The workshop details:
Institute of Historical Research in London
Saturday 26 January 2019

Recent research on the history of money has drawn attention to the changing use and representation of money in its social, economic and cultural contexts. In particular, the subjectivity or ‘symbolism’ of money has been shown to have had impacts on changing notions of individualism, gender, and morality, as well as processes of economic and social change. Yet these histories have remained firmly siloed within the separate scholarship of distinct periods.

Early modern scholarship on the social life of money has provided a means for understanding the transition from the fundamentally entwined social and economic practices of the medieval era to the supposedly-disembedded economic behaviours of the modern world. However, scholars of the medieval and modern periods have yet to examine these questions in the same depth and or with the same criticality as their early modernist counterparts, let alone ranging across periods.

Funded and organised jointly by the Social History Society and the Economic History Society, which both have a special interest in the history of money but for very different reasons, this one-day workshop will bring together scholars of the history of money in the medieval, early modern and modern periods. Our particular focus will be on the social meanings and rituals surrounding changing economic practices of payment and non-payment in each period. It is hoped that by providing a platform for further discussion and by bringing together different perspectives on the subject, new avenues of research may be revealed.

There is a £10 registration fee for non-speakers. As spaces are limited, please RSVP by contacting the organisers:



10.00   Arrival and registration (with coffee)
10.20   Welcome remarks
10.30   Dr George Gosling, University of Wolverhampton
On the need to think about money histories cross-discipline
10.45   Dr Matthew Pawelski, University of Lancaster
On the need to think about money histories cross-period
11.00   Q&A
11.10   Coffee break
11.20   Professor Christopher Dyer, University of Leicester
‘Pottage for free-born Englishmen’: medieval wages in money and kind
11.40   Dr Kate Bradley, University of Kent
Profession and pro bono: lawyers, free legal advice, and respectability, c.1920-1950​
12.00   Q&A
12.30   Lunch
13.30   Dr Hannah Robb, University of Manchester
Arbitration before the Church Court: debt litigation and neighbourliness in the fifteenth century
13.50   Professor Anne Murphy, University of Hertfordshire
Performing public credit during the late eighteenth century
14.10   Q&A
14.40   Coffee break
15.00   Professor Craig Muldrew, University of Cambridge
Trust and the beginnings of the use of paper currency in Britain in the early eighteenth century
15.20   Dr Sarah Roddy, University of Manchester
Ordinary people’s money: what the history of giving gives historians
15.40   Q&A
16.10   Closing roundtable: where next?
17.00   End of workshop

Click here for the pdf version

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: