November 7, 2008
From the earliest years of subsistence, to the flowering of an expansive economy by the end of the colonial period, North Americans’ religious beliefs and communities played a central role in shaping emerging economies. Transnational and local religious networks shared values and kin-connections, and they were well suited to influence the extended Atlantic economy and the increasingly specialized interior trade. In turn, the challenges of new environments, work arrangements, encounters with slaves and Native Americans, and new social arrangements invited many early Americans to question long-established activities in markets that had derived from religious beliefs. By the post-Revolutionary era, the process of commodification—of labor, of the environment’s resources, of religion itself—accelerated reevaluations of the relationship of faith and economic behavior, reconfiguring beliefs about the morality of the economy. In the continually shifting parameters of this discussion, across many denominations and markets, no single resolution of issues emerged, a fact that reflects the complexity of the North American economy and the diversity of the religious marketplace. This conference brings together scholars to explore various themes and uses a wide variety of methodological approaches to illuminate this central aspect of the American economy, representing both the breadth of Americans’ economic engagements and the diversity of their religious beliefs about the economy.
This conference is free and open to everyone interested in the topic. Please let us know if you will be attending by registering electronically.
Above Right: The Shopkeeper, wood engraving from The Progress of Man and Society for the use of schools. Second edition (Bath, England: M. Gaye, n.d.), p. 115.
Above Left: Lithograph of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Philada. Founded in 1794 by the Revd. Richard Allen, Bishop of the first African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States. Rebuilt in 1805. / Drawn on stone by W. L. Breton (Philadelphia: Kennedy & Lucas, 1829).
Seventh Annual Conference of the
Program in Early American Economy and Society
For more information contact Cathy Matson, PEAES Director at email@example.com
The Library Company of Philadelphia
1314 Locust St., Phila., PA 19107
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