Fall 2017 SSF Events

“Silent Partners”: Women as Investors in Britain’s First Stock Market

Amy M. Froide, Professor, History Department, UMBC

One of the world’s first stock markets emerged in the coffeehouses of London in the 1690s. Up to one third of investors in corporations such as the East India and South Sea companies, the Bank of England, and the national debt were women.  Prof. Froide discusses how these women learned to invest, how they served as financial agents and broker for kin and others, and the types of financial agency that women exercised.  Not only did women earn dividends, they challenged corporations in court, and voted in shareholder elections. Most importantly, women functioned as ‘financial patriots’, aiding in Britain’s emerging dominance as a colonial and trading power in the eighteenth century.

Sponsored by the Department of History

Constitution and Citizenship Day: Judicial Review in the Age of Trump

Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

The lecture will discuss the role of norms and conventions-rather than judicially enforceable legal rules – in stabilizing the U.S. constitutional system. After identifying some of these norms and conventions, the lecture will describe how some aspects of the litigation over the “travel ban” show how pressure on norms and conventions can affect the way courts approach the adjudication of “ordinary” constitutional cases.

Sponsored by the Social Sciences Forum

The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding

Severine Autesserre, Professor of Political Science, Barnard College, Columbia University

Based on more than 330 interviews and a year and a half of field research, Professor Autesserre develops a case study of international intervention during the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s unsuccessful transition from war to peace and democracy (2003-2006). Grassroots rivalries over land, resources, and political power motivated widespread violence. However, a dominant peacebuilding culture shaped the intervention strategy in a way that precluded action on local conflicts, ultimately dooming the international efforts to end the deadliest conflict since World War II. In this analysis, Professor Autesserre proposes innovative ways to address civil wars in Africa and beyond.

Sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication; Department of Africana Studies; Global Studies Program; Department of Political Science

Economics Department Mullen Lecture: Human Values and the Great Enrichment

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Deirdre McCloskey, Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 2000 to 2015 in Economics, History, English, and Communication

Deirdre McCloskey’s talk will focus on how workers’ economic conditions improve when they are give a chance to live in a better functioning economy. But how do we get that better functioning economy? McCloskey explains what she call the Bourgeois, the “experiment” of the 19th century, “Laissez-nous faire,” that fostered an environment where ordinary people were generally left alone, allowed to open shops or enter occupations. This, she argues, led to significantly betterment through innovation-electric lights, railways, radio, espresso machines, containerization, dropped ceilings, books and newspapers.  “Let me, une bourgeoise, start a business bettering some activity, and let me in the first act keep the profits (in the second act the irritating imitators of my success enter and spoil by profits), and in the third act I will make you (voi) better off, gigantically.” McCloskey states.

Sponsored by the Department of Economics

New Student Book Experience: Half the Sky – Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Sheryl WuDunn, co-author, First Asian-American reporter to win a Pulitzer Prize

This book is a passionate call to arms against what the authors argue is our era’s most pervasive human right violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world. WuDunn shares stories of resilient women in Africa and Asia, depicting a world with anger, sadness, clarity and ultimately, hope. The book makes a compelling case that, throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. These stories make the case that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential.

Sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs

W.E.B. Du Bois Distinguished Lecture: The Contemporary African Immigrant Communities in the U.S.

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Toyin Falola, Professor of History, The Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and Distinguished Teaching Professor, University of Texas, Austin

A substantial number of citizens of continental Africa now live in the United States. Toyin Falola examines the differences in migratory trends between enforced and voluntary migration in different time periods.  He also explores the resulting patterns of cultural transformation, such as a new form of citizenship and transnational engagements between the United States and Africa.  Falola’s talk incorporates a range of data sources, from the U.S. census to field research, and he treats the contemporary subject as distinct from older understandings of diaspora.

Sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies