What were the Cultural Causes of the Industrial Revolution?

9 04 2010

That is the theme of a course for PhD students being held in Sweden in October. If I were still a grad student, I would definitely apply to attend.  Since I’m not, I’m going to content myself with reading Joel Mokyr’s new book The enlightened economy: an economic history of Britain, 1700-1850. It’s on my summer reading list.

Anyway, PhD students and supervisors should check out this announcement.


The Department of Economic History,
School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg,
invites you to the Ph.D.-course

Ideologies, Ideas, and Values during the Industrial Revolution
(11-15 October 2010)

The course will be taught by Deirdre Nansen McCloskey, Distinguished Profes
sor of Economics, History, English, and Communication, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Guest Professor, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg.


Why was Europe the first region to develop economically and why did Britain lead among the European nations?  Recent years have seen a number of important contributions to the field of economic history trying to deal with the issue from new perspectives, using new empirical evidence. The course will study some of scholarly contributions. The issue of ideologies, ideas, and bourgeois values will be an important theme. That is, can the modern world
be explained in merely material terms?  Or do ideas matter!

Participants are expected to write short reviews of the books on the reading list, to be discussed in class in the morning of each day of the course.
Participants will also present a paper on their own research in afternoon seminars, and get feedback from other participants of the course and from Professor McCloskey.

Practical information

The course is open for Ph.D. students in history, economic history, and economics and similar disciplines within social science and the humanities.  The course will take place at the School of Business, Economics and Law in
Gothenburg, Sweden.

There is no fee for participating in the course. The Department will furthermore arrange (and pay for) lodging and lunches during the course, and provide a travel grant to, participating Ph.D. students. The Department will also host an opening reception, and a dinner the last night of the course. Participants are expected to attend during the whole week.

Applications for participation in the course should be sent latest 15 May 2010 by mail to Klas Ronnback, Dept. of economic history, University of Gothenburg: klas.ronnback@econhist.gu.se. Applicants should give a short description of the research field of their doctoral thesis. Since the number of participants will be limited, a selection may be necessary. The result from such selection will be sent to the applicants by the end of May.

Reading list

Robert Allen (2009): The British industrial revolution in global perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.
Jack Goldstone (2009): Why Europe? The rise of the West in world history, 1500-1850. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Deirdre McCloskey (2010): Bourgeois Dignity: Why economics can’t explain
the modern world. Forthcoming, October.
Joel Mokyr (2009): The enlightened economy: an economic history of Britain,
1700-1850. New Haven: Yale UP.
Jan Luiten van Zanden (2009): The long road to the industrial revolution: the European economy in a global perspective, 1000-1800. Leiden: Brill.
Joyce Appleby (2010): The relentless revolution: A history of capitalism (New York, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010)

Professor Christer Lundh
Klas Ronnback
Department of Economic history
University of Gothenburg
Box 720, SE- 405 30 Göteborg
Phone: + 46 31-7734520



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