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Research Colloquium: Transatlantic and Comparative Perspectives on Financial Crises in the Second Half of the 19th Century (Catherine Davies)

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In the final session of this semester's Research Colloquium, Catherine Davies (University of Zurich) explores the transatlantic history of financial crises in the 19th century.

Panics and crashes were central features of nineteenth century capitalism. In 1857 and 1873, financial crises erupted in the United States and in several European countries, causing havoc, a wave of commercial failures, unemployment and poverty. The growth of international trade and credit networks, aided by advances in transportation, communication and production, meant that financial disruptions were no longer isolated local or national events. Economic commentators, policy makers, entrepreneurs and journalists struggled to make sense both of this growing interconnectedness and of the emerging recurrence of episodes of overspeculation and downturns; liberal politico-economic accounts of the (ir)rationality of entrepreneurial activity co-existed alongside religious indictments of the amorality of the capitalist marketplace. An integrated transatlantic history of financial panics shows how differences and commonalities in responses were shaped by both institutions and culture.

Catherine Daviesis senior assistant professor in history at the University of Zürich, having gained her PhD at FU Berlin. She is currently working on a history of sexual violence in West Germany. Her book, Transatlantic Speculations: Globalization and the Panics of 1873, appeared with Columbia University Press in 2018. She has published extensively on the history of financial crises and their connections to globalization and democracy.

When?  4 February 2021, 16:15

Where?  Zoom,, Meeting-ID: 934 9627 6237

The full program for the winter semester 2020/21 can be found here.