Volkswagen Postdoctoral Fellow, Weatherhead Initiative on Global History, Harvard University
April 17, 2017
4:15pm - 6:00pm
CMES Rm 102, 38 Kirkland Street
The presentation explores how the market emerged as an object of social scientific inquiry in Egypt at the beginning of the twentieth century. Rather than the natural unfolding of economic rationality or the inherent logic of capital, the emergence of the market was a much more earthly affair tied to the rising prominence of stock and commodity exchanges in economic life and the changing nature of the Egyptian countryside. In the wake of financial and ecological crises, colonial elites, Egyptian and expatriate alike, drew on the emerging discipline of economics to comprehend and reorder economic life. By embedding new technologies for visualizing the activity of distant exchanges into the countryside, their work invested the market with a new generality. The presentation traces this colonial genealogy of the market and argues for a history attuned to how new techniques for visualizing and representing economic life have shaped past economies.