Below is a list of some of the research projects our members are working on.

Rise of the Rentier: France and the Making of Financial Modernity, 1830-1930

Dr Alexia Yates   A two-year research project (2020-2022) examining the culture and politics of mass investment in modern France. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Grant AH/S012680/1. Learn more at the project website, 'Rise of the Rentier'.

Risky Business: Investing in Innovation and Britain’s Economic Development, 1600-1750

Dr Edmond Smith   A three-year research project (2021-2024) exploring cultures of innovation, improvement and investment in early modern Britain. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, ES/V011537/1.

Legacies of the British Slave Trade: The Structures and Significance of British Investment in the Transatlantic Slave Trade, c. 1550-1807

Dr Edmond Smith   A three-year research project (2021-2024) with Lancaster University and UCL to investigate the relationship between the slave trade and Britain’s wider economy from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Past Projects

Compassionate Capitalism in the Middle Ages: Profit and Philanthropy in Medieval Cambridge

C Casson, M Casson, J Lee and K Phillips

Contemporary businesses are frequently challenged to invest the profits from their commercial successes into projects that benefit society. Yet this is not a new concept - it began as early as the medieval period.

Profits from property speculation in the Middle Ages were re-invested into local communities. Compassionate capitalism involved high levels of charitable giving to hospitals, monasteries, churches, and colleges, which helped to disseminate the economic benefits of investments from individuals to the wider community. 

Read more on Vox.

Further coverage:

Reputation and Economic Performance: The Competitive Strategies of Medieval English Towns, 1250-1500

C Casson

Reputation was essential to the establishment of towns in the middle ages, and continued to play a crucial part in their growth. Competition between neighbouring towns was intense, as each town sought to extend its economic and political influence.

Reputation was used as a competitive asset to attract skilled artisans, successful merchants, patrons for religious and charitable institutions and political players.

This project develops a framework encompassing six dimensions of reputation and seven audiences to which those dimensions were communicated. The framework is applied to London, Norwich, Bristol, Leicester, Nottingham and York in the period 1250-1500.

Economic Behaviours in the John Rylands Library's Persian Manuscripts

Edmond Smith

Drawing on digital humanities tools utilised by Cambridge's History of Population and Social Structure, Exeter's Women's Work in Rural England and Sheffield's Linguistic DNA projects, the proposed work will analyse economically indicative verb usage in Persian texts.

Through this analysis, the project will contribute to the reinterpretation of histories of globalisation, empire and trade by demonstrating how hybrid, flexible and transnational commercial practices can be traced across emerging national and imperial boundaries in non-European sources.

Venetian and Mamluk maritime policies

G Christ

Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship 2017-18, £49,994

History of Financial Advice

P Knight

AHRC 2016, £452,000 FEC

History of Financial Advice

P Knight

ESRC Impact Accelerator Account 2016, £9,000

Money and Irish Catholicism

S Roddy

ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellowship 2016-19, £245,817 FEC