Special Event The Ecology of Economic Thought

One would think that environmental history and economic history would be peas in a pod. After all, central questions in the history of economic thought concern environmental issues such as the early-modern enclosures and the importance of water-power and coal to the industrial revolution. The meanings of ‘the environmental’ and ‘the economic’ have shifted over the centuries, especially as issues were traded between natural philosophy, political economy, and ecology. While much has been written on policy of various kinds, what this workshop is focused on are works that lie at the convergence of environmental, economic, and intellectual history. What  for example are the origins and contexts of Spaceship Earth, catastrophe bonds, geo-engineering, externalities, cap-and-trade, and sustainability? To write such conceptual and interdisciplinary histories, care should be taken to represent the diversity within economics, its competing schools, epistemologies, sets of postulates on society, nature, and human motivation. Economists’ politics, vocabularies, methods have changed with the shifting trends in their discipline and its relationship to ecologists, historians, other disciplines, and governments. While neo-classicism matters to the history we want to see written, we are also keen to explore the ideas of heterodox scholars who belong to schools of varying influence: neo-liberalism, Keynesianism, Veblenian institutional economics, ecological economics, Polanyian socialism, and Marxism.  We encourage placing these concepts in a social context beyond internalist histories of the disciplines themselves. 

Organizers: Troy Vettese (Canada Program, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University) & Julia Nordblad (Department of History of Science and Ideas, Uppsala University)

This series will not include paper presentations; papers can be read in advance of each event. Please contact Troy Vettese for papers. Tvettese@fas.harvard.edu 

All Webinars in this series will be held occasional Wednesday mornings, from the end of January through February and will run from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Registration is required for each Webinar.

January 27 ​Empire i

‘​An Empire of ‘Growth and Nurture’: Ecology, Documentary Film, and Development in Britain’s Empire Marketing Board, 1926​–​1933’ Paul Erikson (Wesleyan)
Discussants: Nahid Aslanbeigui (Monmouth) and Thomas Turnbull (MPI Berlin)

‘Pigou on Urban Ecology, "Pigouvian Taxes", and the Limits of Economic Policy’ Nahid Aslanbeigui and Guy Oakes (Monmouth)
Discussants: Chris Jones (Arizona) and Robert Leonard (UQAM)

Please register here: https://harvard.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_e_QPGa01Rvi9Fimp3p8ezA

February 3 ​Theory i

‘The Limits to Certainty and the Metaphysics of Infinitude’ Nandita Badami (UC Irvine)
Discussants: Venus Bivar (York) and Kristoffer Ekberg (Chalmers)

‘Writing the History of Ecological Economic Thought’ Antoine Missemer (CIRED Paris) and Marco Paulo Vianna Franco (KLI)
Discussants: Julia Nordblad (Uppsala) and Matthias Schmelzer (Jena)

‘Critiques of Growth in Historical Context’ Matthias Schmelzer (Jena)
Discussants: Roman Gilmintinov (Duke) and Glenda Sluga (EUI)

Please register herehttps://harvard.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_QQRtKHx2SFaYIU-0ovMGJw

February 10 ​Theory ii

‘Energy and Environmental Economics After the Oil Shock: The Rise of Ecological Modernization’ Stephen Gross (NYU) Discussants: Adam Tooze (Columbia) and Nathalie Berta (Reims)

‘Resilience in Context’ Irene Sotiropoulou (Hull)
Discussants: Venus Bivar and Troy Vettese (Harvard University)

‘Socialist Valuation of Nature: Environmental Regulation and the Development of Political Economy in the Soviet Union, 1965​–​1991’ Roman Gilmintinov (Duke)
Discussants: Guy Oakes (Monmouth) and Irene Sotiropoulou (Hull)

Please register herehttps://harvard.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_zRcfRXTzTyKfXETai6TCQQ

February 17 ​Policy

‘Struggling to Remake the Market: The Feed-in-Tariff and the Neo-Liberal Roots of German Climate Politics’ Stephen Milder (Groningen)
Discussants: Adam Tooze (Columbia) and Viktor Pressfeldt (Lund)

'Market Governance, Obstruction, and Denial: Neoliberal Environmental Thought and Policy in Sweden, 1988–2015’ Kristoffer Ekberg (Chalmers) and Viktor Pressfeldt (Lund)
Discussants: Stephen Milder and Stephen Gross

‘'Challenging Economic Times: Temporality in Critiques of Economized Nature, 1985–1995’ Julia Nordblad (Uppsala)
Discussants David Schorr (Tel Aviv) and Antoine Missemer (CIRED Paris)

Please register herehttps://harvard.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_OxUmr3ziTN-h3G1CGTvWLg

February 24 ​Empire ii

‘From Svamiji’s Ashram to Whitehall: Instrumentalising the British Government during the 1973 Oil Crisis’ Thomas Turnbull (MPI Berlin)
Discussants: Nandita Badami (UCal, Irvine) and Fredrik Albritton Jonsson (Chicago)

‘Between the Hand-loom and the Samson Stripper: The Contradictory Worlds of E. F. Schumacher’ Robert Leonard (UQAM)
Discussants: Paul Erikson (Wesleyan) and Marco Paulo Vianna Franco (Konrad Lorenz Institute)

Please register herehttps://harvard.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ix9YUod_TbiCUkhZPUAYXQ