28 July 2011

NOTICE: The “Political Arithmetick” of Empires in the Early Modern Atlantic World, 1500–1807

I received word last night about a conference on 'The “Political Arithmetick” of Empires in the Early Modern Atlantic World, 1500–1807'. It's Sponsored by the Department of History, University of Maryland, College Park, and the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. It'll take place from March 17–18, 2012 at the University of Maryland, College Park:

This conference takes its title from the celebrated pamphlet of Sir William Petty published in 1690. The organizers are particularly eager to receive submissions from scholars working on subjects that Petty and his contemporaries believed formed the basis of the new concept of “political economy,” especially as these related to the Americas from the sixteenth century through the eighteenth.

Petty’s pamphlet was largely devoted to the question of how best to construct an English empire within which trade, people, and nation would flourish. His calculations involved not only economic factors but also issues of authority, hierarchy, and justice. The purpose of this conference is to examine the many components, economic as well as cultural, that cohered and/or fractured empires in the early modern Atlantic world between 1500 and 1807.

The organizers encourage papers that examine the religious, cultural, or economic components that shaped the formation of imperial structures in the early modern era. Topics such as religious conformity or the lack thereof, paper money, credit, agriculture, manufacturing, trade, piracy, and monopoly as they related to the creation and expansion of empires are appropriate. So, too, are demography, slavery, the Native American presence, and the migration of labor, whether free or indentured. Finally, the organizers welcome proposals on the ideological character of domestic and international law and the role of ideas in determining the configuration of early modern empires. These subjects may be addressed by focusing exclusively on a single empire or within a comparative context.

Proposals consisting of a maximum of 300 words must be received electronically no later than July 31, 2011. Please include a two-page c.v. that contains your current mailing and e-mail addresses and your telephone number. Materials may be submitted online at the conference Web site, All submissions will be acknowledged by e-mail. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, please resubmit or contact Kim Foley (

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