A New History of Economic Thought

Research Seminar

Organised by Prof. Glenda Sluga and Dr Sabine Selchow (ERC/ECOINT Research fellow)
Registration code: HEC-RS-HISECO-20

  • Thursday 11 February (10:00-12:00, Sala del Torrino)
  • Thursday 18 February (13:10-15:00, Sala degli Stemmi)
  • Thursday 25 February (16:00-18:00, Sala del Torrino)
  • Monday 8 March (11:00-13:00; 13:30-15:30, sala del Torrino)
  • Tuesday 9 March (17:15-19:15, Sala del Torrino)
  • Wednesday 10 March (10:00-12:00; 15:00-17:00, Sala del Torrino)
  • Tuesday 16 March (9:00-13:00, Sala del Torrino)

Admin. Assistant: Laura Borgese

Seminar description

As the world faces successive unprecedented challenges that are impacting on how we live our lives, this intensive research seminar returns to the history of economic thought in search of answers. It will draw in leading scholars from around the world working in economic history, intellectual history, social and cultural history to reconsider how we understand (and write about) the development of economic thinking since the early 19th century.  Among the subjects it will look at are the history of imperial economic sovereignty, new histories of capitalism and development, international governance, the social and institutional context of ideas, the roles of “mid-level” and even “non-intellectual” intellectuals. While our main concerns will be conceptual, asking what counts as economics, whose ideas matter, where and why, we will also explore the significance of archives as the bases for rethinking this history. The main event will be a short workshop, with a number of preparatory seminars beforehand, and debriefing seminars after.


11 February: Who is an Economic Thinker?  

Guests: Koen Stapelbroek (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Aditya Balasubramanian (The Australian National University)

  • Harold James “Neoliberalism and its Interlocutors”, Capitalism: A Journal of History and Economics University of Pennsylvania Press, Volume 1, Number 2, Spring 2020 pp. 484-518
  • Aditya Balasubramanian (2020), Contesting ‘Permit-And-Licence Raj’: Economic Conservatism And The Idea Of Democracy in 1950s India, Past & Present  gtaa013
  • A. Balasubramanian, (2018), 'Present at the Creation: India, the Global Economy, and the Bretton Woods Conference', Journal of World History, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 65-94 (with Srinath Raghavan). (Link available on Sharepoint)
  • C. A. Bayly, (2015). The ends of liberalism and the political thought of Nehru's India, Modern Intellectual History 12 (3):605-626
  • Robert Darnton, ‘Two paths through the social history of ideas’, in Haydn T. Mason, ed, (1998), The Darnton Debate: Books and Revolution in the Eighteenth Century, Voltaire Foundation, Oxford.
  • Patricia Clavin, (2017), ‘Men and Markets: Global Capital and the International Economy’, in Glenda Sluga and Patricia Clavin, eds, Internationalisms: A Twentieth-Century History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp.85–110.
  • Lourdes Beneria, (1999), ‘Globalization, Gender and the Davos Man’, Feminist Economics, 5.3:61–83.
  • Maxine Berg, (1992), ‘The first women economic historians’, The Economic History Review, 45.2:308–29.
  • R.G. Betancourt, & C. O. Espinel, (2018), ‘The Invisible Ones: Women at Cepal (1948–2017)’, in Madden and Dimand, eds, The Routledge Handbook of the History of Women’s Economic Thought, Routledge.
  • Victoria Bateman, (2019), Review of Routledge Handbook of the History of Women’s Economic Thought, Contributions to Political Economy 38 i1, pp.94–97.

18 February: Where is Economic Thinking?

Guests: Eric Helleiner (University of Waterloo) and Pierre Eichenberger (University of Lausanne)

  • Eric Helleiner (2020), “The Diversity of Economic Nationalism,” New Political Economy, DOI: 10.1080/13563467.2020.1841137
  • Pierre Eichenberger (2019). The eternal rebirth of the liberal creed: Alternative temporalities of Swiss neoliberalism, Journal of Modern European History, 17, pp. 390-395
  • Pierre Eichenberger (2020), “Business and Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century: A Corporatist View, Diplomatica. A Journal of Diplomacy and Society, 2, 2020, pp. 48-56.
  • Hagen Schulz-Forberg, “Embedding the Social Question into International Order: Economic Thought and the Origins of Neoliberalism in the 1930s”, in Berger, Stefan, & Thomas Fetzer, eds, (2019), Nationalism and the Economy: Explorations into a Neglected Relationship, Central European University Press, Budapest.
  • Nan Enstad (2019). The “Sonorous Summons” of the New History of Capitalism, Or, What Are We Talking about When We Talk about Economy? Modern American History, 2(1), 83-95. doi:10.1017/mah.2018.43  

25 February: History of the Anthropocene

Guests: Troy Vettese (Harvard University) and Jamie Martin (Georgetown University)

  • Readings in Bibliography

8 March: Workshop Day 1

Ideas and Canons 

Guests: Patricia Owens (University of Oxford), Ann Thomson (EUI)

  • Hutchings, K., & Owens, P. (2021). Women Thinkers and the Canon of International Thought: Recovery, Rejection, and Reconstitution. American Political Science Review, 1-13. doi:10.1017/S0003055420000969
  • Patricia Owens, ‘World Economy’ in Owens, Rietzler, Hutchings, Dunstan (eds.) Women’s International Thought: Towards a New Canon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021 forthcoming)

History of Ideas of Capitalism

Guests: Quinn Slobodian (Wellesley College) and Vanessa Ogle (Yale University)

  • Readings in Bibliography

9 March: Guest Public Lecture 

Capital, Economic Thought, and Histories of Economic  

with Prof. Emma Rothschild (Harvard University) 

10 March: Workshop Day 3

Decolonising History 

Guests: Alden Young (UCLA), with Maria Dyveke Styve (MWF) and Ghassan Moazzin (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Ghassan Moazzin (2020). Investing in the New Republic: Multinational Banks, Political Risk, and the Chinese Revolution of 1911. Business History Review, 94(3), 507-534. doi:10.1017/S0007680520000276
  • Ghassan Moazzin (2020). Sino-Foreign Business Networks: Foreign and Chinese banks in the Chinese banking sector, 1890–1911. Modern Asian Studies, 54(3), 970-1004. doi:10.1017/S0026749X18000318
  • Alden Young, "The Intellectual Origins of Sudan’s “Decades of Solitude,” 1989–2019." Capitalism: A Journal of History and Economics, vol. 2 no. 1, 2021, p. 196-226. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/cap.2021.0007
  • Readings in Bibliography

History of Ideas of Development 

Guests: David Engerman (Yale University) and Corinna Unger (EUI)

  • Readings in Bibliography

16 March: How do we find Economic Ideas, and what do we do with them?

Guest: Jens Boel (former chief archivist UNESCO) 

  • Explore (Links available on SharePoint)
  • Stephen Macekura, (2019), ‘Whither growth? International development, social indicators, and the politics of measurement, 1920s–1970s’, Journal of Global History, 14.2:261–79.
  • Daniel Speich, (2008), Travelling with the GDP through early development economics’ history, Working Papers on The Nature of Evidence: How Well Do ‘Facts’ Travel? No.33/08, LSE.
  • C. Lemercier, (2015) ‘Formal network methods in history: Why and How?’, in G. Fertig, ed., Social Networks, Political Institutions, and Rural Societies, Brepols, Turnhout, 281–310.

Wrap up – What have we learned and where do we take this knowledge?




  • Berg, Maxine, (1992), ‘The first women economic historians’, The Economic History Review, 45.2:308–29
  • Clavin, P., (2013), Securing the World Economy. The Reinvention of the League of Nations, 1920–1946, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Owens, Patricia, (2018), ‘Women and the history of international thought’, International Studies Quarterly, 62.3:467–81.
  • Flandreau, M., ed., (2003), Money Doctors: The Experience of Financial Advising, 1850–2000, Routledge, New York.
  • Fourcade, Marion, (2009), Economists and Societies: Discipline and Profession in the United States, Britain, and France, 1890s to 1990s, Princeton University Press, Princeton.
  • Gourevitch, Peter A., (1989), ‘Keynesian Politics: The Political Sources of Economic Policy Choices’, in Peter A. Hall, The Political Power of Economic Ideas: Keynesianism across Nations, Princeton.
  • Graz, Jean-Christophe, (2003), ‘How Powerful are Transnational Élite Clubs? The Social Myth of the World Economic Forum’, New Political Economy, 8.3:321–40.
  • Hamilton, E., (2006), ‘“Whose Story is it Anyway?” Narrative Accounts of the Role of Women in Founding and Establishing Family Businesses’, International Small Business Journal, 24.3:253–71.
  • Ghassan Moazzin, “Networks of Capital: German Bankers and the Financial Internationalisation of China (1885-1919).” Enterprise & Society 20, No. 4 (2019), pp.796-808.


  • Berger, Stefan, & Thomas Fetzer, eds, (2019), Nationalism and the Economy: Explorations into a Neglected Relationship, Central European University Press, Budapest.
  • Endres, Anthony M., and Grant A. Fleming, eds, (2002]), International Organizations and the Analysis of Economic Policy, 1919–1950, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Chp.1.
  • Helleiner, Eric, (2014), Forgotten Foundations of Bretton Woods. International Development and the Making of the Postwar Order., Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London.
  • Helleiner, Eric, and Andreas Pickel, eds, (2005), Economic Nationalism in a Globalizing World, Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London.
  • Herren, Madeleine, (2013), ‘“They already Exist”: Don’t They? Conjuring Global Networks Along the Flow of Money’. In Löhr and Wenzlhuemer, eds, The Nation State and Beyond, Springer, pp.43–62.
  • Kott, S., and J. Droux, eds, (2013), Globalizing social rights: The International Labour Organization and beyond, London.
  • Patterson, E.M., (1919), ‘Economic Internationalism’, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 83:1–15.
  • Rodogno, D., B. Struck, and J. Vogel, eds, (2015), Shaping the Transnational Sphere. Experts, Networks and Issues from the 1840s to the 1930s., New York, Oxford.
  • Rosengarten, M., and C.-L. Holtfrerich, (2002), ‘Economic Policy Positions and Influence of the International Chamber of Commerce’, in H. James (ed.), The Interwar Depression München.
  • Slobodian, S., (2018), Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Mass.).
  • Routledge Companion to the Makers of Global Business (37 chapters, Routledge, forthcoming, 2019). Co-edited with Teresa da Silva Lopes and Christina Lubinski.


  • Rothschild, E., (2011), Inner Life of Empires, Princeton University Press, Princeton.
  • Sewell, W.E., (2010), ‘A Strange Career: The Historical Study of Economic Life’, History and Theory, 49.4:146–66.
  • Moyn, S., (2014), ‘Imaginary Intellectual History’, in McMahon, Darrin M., and Samuel Moyn, eds Rethinking Modern European Intellectual History, Oxford University Press, Myrdal, G., (1957), ‘Economic Nationalism and Internationalism’, Australian Outlook, 11.4:3–50. Oxford and New York.


  • Barnett, Vincent, ed., (2015), Routledge Handbook of the History of Global Economic Thought, Routledge.
  • Madden, Kirsten, and Robert W. Dimand, (2018), The Routledge Handbook of the History of Women’s Economic Thought, Routledge International Handbooks, Routledge, Abingdon (Oxon.).
  • Cohen, Benjamin J., (2005), International Political Economy: An Intellectual History, Princeton University Press, Princeton.
  • Cooper, F., and R. Packard, (1998), ‘Introduction’, International Development and the Social Sciences: Essays on the History and Politics of Knowledge. University of California Press, Berkeley.


  • Gibson-Graham, J.K., (1996), The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, and Cambridge (Mass.).
  • ‘Interchange: The History of Capitalism’ (2014), Journal of American History, 101.2.
  • Marc Flandreau “Border Crossing, Capitalism: A Journal of History and Economics Volume 1, Number 1, Fall 2019, pp. 1-9
  • Chen, Z., (2011), Modern China’s Network Revolution: Chambers of Commerce and Sociopolitical Change in the Early Twentieth Century, Stanford University Press, Stanford.
  • Lang, M. (2006), Globalization and Its History. The Journal of Modern History, 78(4), 899-931.
  • Laurens, S., (2015), Les Courtiers du capitalisme. Milieux d’affaires
  • Ogle, V., (2017), ‘Archipelago Capitalism: Tax Havens, Offshore Money, and the State, 1950s–1970s’, The American Historical Review, 122.5:1431–458.
  • Olsen, Niklas, (2019), The Sovereign Consumer. A New Intellectual History of Neoliberalism, Palgrave Macmillan.


  • C. Cassen & Antoine Missemer, 2020. "Structuring Environmental and Development Economics in France: The CIRED Case (1968-1986) [La structuration de l'économie de l'environnement et du développement en France : le cas du CIRED (1968-19," Post-Print halshs-02548876, HAL.
  • Malm,Andreas. Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam-Power and the roots of global Warming, Verso, Chp.1
  • M. Vianna Franco. Searching for a Scientific Paradigm in Ecological Economics: The History of Ecological Economic Thought, 1880s–1930 Ecological Economics, 2018 (Links available on Sharepoint)
  • Matthias Schmelzer, The Hegemony of Growth. The OECD and the making of the economic growth paradigm (Cambridge, 2016), chp. 9


  • Alden Young, (2017). Transforming Sudan: Decolonization, Economic Development, and State Formation (African Studies). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Any chapter/ esp. conclusion.
  • Amanda Behm, Christienna Fryar, Emma Hunter, Elisabeth Leake, Su Lin Lewis, Sarah Miller-Davenport, Decolonizing History: Enquiry and Practice, History Workshop Journal, Volume 89, Spring 2020, Pages 169–191,  (Link availale on Sharepoint)
  • New International Economic Order, Special Issue of Humanity, (Link available on Sharepoint)
  • Tariq Omar Ali, “Agrarian Forms of Islam: Mofussil discourses on peasant religion in the Bengal delta during the 1920s,” Modern Asian Studies 51:5 (2017), 1311-1339
  • Laurence Coderre, “A Necessary Evil: Conceptualizing the Socialist Commodity under Mao,” Comparative Studies of Society and History 61:1 (2019), 23-49


  • Berthelot, Y. (2004), ‘Unity in Diversity of Development: The Regional Commissions’ Experience’. In Berthelot (ed.), Unity and Diversity in Development Idea, Indiana University Press, Indianopolis (IN).
  • Engerman, David C., Nils Gilman, Mark H. Haefele, Michael E. Latham, eds, (2003), Staging Growth: Modernization, Development, and the Global Cold War, University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst & Boston.
  • Engerman, David, (2018), The Price of Aid: The Economic Cold War in India, Harvard University Press.
  • Finnermore, Martha, (1998), ‘Redefining Development at the World Bank’, in F. Cooper and R. Packard,eds, International Development and the Social Sciences, Berkeley, pp.203–27.
  • Forclaz, A. Ribi, (2019)‘From Reconstruction to Development: Early Years of the FAO & the Conceptualization of Rural Welfare, 1945–1955’, International History Review, 41.2:351–71.
  • Maul, Daniel, (2012), Human Rights, Development and Decolonization: The International Labour Organization, 1940–70, Palgrave and International Labour Office, Basingstoke and New York.
  • Pernet, Corinne A., & Amalia Ribi Forclaz, (2019), ‘Revisiting the FAO: International Histories of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Development’, The International History Review, 41.2:345–50.
  • Rist, Gilbert, (2014 [1997]), The History of Development: From Western Origins to Global Faith. Economic Development and Cultural Change., Zed Books, London and New York.
  • Unger, Corinna, (2018), International Development: A Postwar History, Bloomsbury, London.


















Page last updated on 02 March 2021

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