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Fall-Spring 2022 Seminar

Warren Center Research Seminar: Capitalism’s Hardwiring: Money, Credit, and Finance in a Globalizing World

Prerequisite: Students who wish to enroll should have taken a course in either monetary law, financial regulation, or the history of economic regulation; participation is otherwise by permission of the instructors.

Exam Type: No Exam

This year-long seminar takes capitalism’s monetary hardwiring as its subject. Twice within the last two decades, the United States has kicked the monetary apparatus that formats its economy into crisis gear. Each time, the government leapt to rescue a financial infrastructure that had grown indispensable to modern markets even as it escaped the mooring of the “real economy.” The crises we experience immediately expose a system fashioned over centuries. In the seminar, we will explore capitalism’s hardwiring, defined broadly to include those architectures of finance and credit that today so profoundly shape material distribution, political voice, and disciplinary knowledge. The seminar will focus on the United States but locate that experience as part of a global drama, one that travels from the domestic law on bank liabilities to the geography of the Gold Standard, from the human tragedy of slave mortgages to the disembodied dynamics of foreign exchange markets, and from the parochial assumptions of theorists to the universalizing abstractions of their theory.

The seminar will run biweekly during the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 semesters. Law students have the option to write research papers that satisfy Option 1 of the JD Written Work Requirement, in conjunction with the seminar. Cross-registrants are encouraged to apply. After a set of introductory meetings, seminar sessions will be structured around the scholarly projects of faculty fellows and student participants.

This seminar is cross-listed with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and is offered in conjunction with the annual workshop sponsored by the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. In addition to law students, participants will include graduate students, Warren Center fellows, and guest speakers.

This seminar will run biweekly, with the first class session meeting on September 8.