Markets and Morality Conference



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Paul Harvey

A few posts down I had some thoughts on markets and morality in American religious history. Guess I was on to something, because here's an announcement for what appears to be an incredibly interesting conference on said subject, dealing specifically with colonial America.

MARKETS AND MORALITY: INTERSECTIONS OF ECONOMY, ETHICS, AND RELIGION IN EARLY NORTH AMERICA

NOVEMBER 7, 2008

LIBRARY COMPANY OF PHILADELPHIA

From the earliest years of subsistence, to the flowering of an expansive economy by the end of the colonial period, North Americans’ religious beliefs and communities played a central role in shaping emerging economies. Transnational and local religious networks shared values and kin-connections, and they were well suited to influence the extended Atlantic economy and the increasingly specialized interior trade. In turn, the challenges of new environments, work arrangements, encounters with slaves and Native Americans, and new social arrangements invited many early Americans to question long-established activities in markets that had derived from religious beliefs. By the post-Revolutionary era, the process of commodification—of labor, of the environment’s resources, of religion itself—accelerated reevaluations of the relationship of faith and economic behavior, reconfiguring beliefs about the morality of the economy. In the continually shifting parameters of this discussion, across many denominations and markets, no single resolution of issues emerged, a fact that reflects the complexity of the North American economy and the diversity of the religious marketplace.

This conference brings together scholars to explore various themes and uses a wide variety of methodological approaches to illuminate this central aspect of the American economy, representing both the breadth of Americans’ economic engagements and the diversity of their religious beliefs about the economy.

This conference is free and open to everyone. Please let us know if you will be attending by
registering electronically.

The Library Company of Philadelphia1314 Locust St., Phila., PA 19107 (TEL) 215-546-3181 (FAX) 215-546-5167

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