[UPDATE] "'What is bettre than gold?': Economies and Values in the Middle Ages"

full name / name of organization: 
Columbia University Medieval Guild

The Columbia University Medieval Guild is pleased to announce its 21st annual Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference, " 'What is bettre than gold?': Economies and Values in the Middle Ages," taking place on 22 October 2010.

The aim of this conference is to explore the interface between medieval economies and societies in both literal and symbolic terms. Monetary exchange was only one of many forms of economic thought and activity in the Middle Ages. On the one hand, the language of the market permeated many other spheres of medieval life, such as spirituality, social relationships, and artistic production. At the same time, non-economic values and non-monetary currencies influenced the market and offered alternative avenues of exchange. We welcome papers from graduate students in all disciplines, in the interests of examining the variety of ways in which economic discourses and practices in the Middle Ages were themselves evaluated, converted, debased, counterfeited, multiplied, circulated, and exchanged.

Keynote Speaker:
Diane Cady, Mills College (English)

Methodology Panel:
Susanna Barsella, Fordham University (Modern Languages and Literatures-Italian)
Jessica Goldberg, University of Pennsylvania (History)
Derrick Higginbotham, Barnard College/Columbia University (English)
Joel Kaye, Barnard College/Columbia University (History)
Stephen Murray, Columbia University (Art History)

Topics may include but are not limited to:
poverty and wealth

gift-giving and gift exchange

need and charity
treasure and hoarding
luxury, largesse, and consumption

symbolic capital and cultural currency
social, cultural and artistic exchange

literary and artistic patronage

textual circulation and book production

redemption and spiritual economies

circulation and use of money

debt and usury

investment and credit

currency and coinage

financial techniques (bookkeeping, money-changing, etc.)

commercial and commercialized spaces and communities
trade, markets, and fairs
merchants and merchant culture

guilds and networks (professional, national, etc.)

circulation of objects (commodities and non-commodities)

household economy

finance and institutional administration

labor, prices and wages


commercial law


tithes and benefices

ports and customs

Please send your proposal (no longer than 300 words) for a 15 to 20-minute paper to the organizers at medievaleconomies [at] gmail [dot] com by September 1st 2010. Proposals should include the title of the paper, presenter's name, institutional affiliation (including department), email address, mailing address, telephone number, and any audio-visual equipment needs. Please also indicate if you would be willing to moderate a panel.