Risk Management, Insolvency, and Bankruptcy in the Pre-Modern World (13th-18th Centuries) – Call for research papers
The economic history of pre-modern risk and its management is undergoing a scholarly resurgence stimulated by active interdisciplinary engagement with legal, social, and cultural histories. The three concepts of ‘risk’, ‘insolvency’, and ‘bankruptcy’ are central to this topic, providing ample scope for contributions across medieval and early modern Europe and multiple opportunities for comparative links that encompass the Islamic world and the European colonial experiences.
The focus of this Datini Study Week is the interface between the normative aspect of risk, insolvency, and bankruptcy, and their practical implementation as investigated through analyses of daily practices and the tools and strategies of risk management. Particular attention will be paid to the regulation of financial transactions within states, across political borders, and at the intersection of different legal systems. The conceptual framework we propose is one that acknowledges the connection of insolvency and bankruptcy to both ‘financial’ and ‘economic’ risks, taking into consideration the analytical separation that exists between the two and how practical solutions for their management overlap.
We aim at stimulating contributions that go beyond the classic literature, which has tended to focus on the experience of ‘merchants’. We welcome contributions on the relevant experience of manufacturers and landowners to improve our understanding of the entanglements between three core pre-modern economic sectors: agricultural production, manufacturing, and services (trade, shipping and finance). The exploration of such entanglements will be key to enhancing our appreciation of risk management as a trans-social phenomenon that was not used exclusively within the world of trade, but as a broader social strategy.
The relevance of this approach is evident in current debates on risk management within the pre-modern maritime sector (Fusaro, Marzagalli) on the difference between wealth and income in pre-modern Europe (Van Zanden, Alfani, Antunes & Jerónimo); and on the legal framework for the provision of state support for risk mitigation both in Europe and in the colonial worlds (Antunes & Miranda; Safley).
The selected papers will be presented and discussed at Prato in the course of the Study Week 2025. After the discussion at the Settimana sessions, scholars should complete and revise their texts by 30 June 2025. All contributions received by the Institute will be subject to anonymous adjudication before publication.
Call for papers
Scholars are invited to send their proposal by compiling an abstract that will be reviewed by the Executive Committee.
The paper should represent an original contribution and be either generally comparative or a specific case-study that speaks to the larger questions set out here. Participants who are pursuing a PhD, should have completed it before the start of the conference.
Papers proposed by projects or collaborative groups that link scholars from different countries and institutions will be assessed with particular interest if they offer a comparative analysis in geographical or diachronic terms across two or more related research themes. We will also consider innovative session formats for these type of proposals.
The completed format must be received at the following address by 1 November 2023:
Fondazione Istituto Internazionale di Storia Economica “F. Datini”
Via Ser Lapo Mazzei 37, I 59100 Prato, ITALY