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The History of Political Economy

Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 4, 2013

A three-week institute for twenty-five college and university faculty on the history of economic thought.

Bruce Caldwell, professor of economics and director of the Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University, leads an institute to explore various episodes in the development of the history of economic thought. This program is a response "to the fact that the history of economic thought is disappearing as a subject within American economics departments," Caldwell writes, and the Center for the History of Political Economy was established at Duke "with a mission of promoting and supporting research in, and the teaching of, the history of political economy." The institute seeks to reveal "the roots of economic knowledge in humanistic understanding of social life." The proposal argues that "economics developed over the centuries through people who did not see themselves as 'economists,' but as scholars trying to make sense of the social universe in the same way that natural philosophers were trying to make sense of the natural world." The institute be organized around weekly themes. Week one begins with readings and understandings of key texts from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with emphasis on David Hume and Adam Smith. Week two revolves around Marx, Engels, and socialism, and the Marginal Revolution. Week three shifts to the role of the state in twentieth-century economy and focuses on the idea of market failure. Bruce Caldwell, Brad Bateman (Denison University), and Steve Medema (University of Colorado, Denver) lead discussions on John Maynard Keynes, Friedrich Hayek, and Ronald Coase. The roster of visiting lecturers also includes Ryan Hanley (Marquette University), Malcolm Rutherford (Victoria University, British Columbia), Carl Wennerlind (Columbia University), Craufurd Goodwin, E. Roy Weintraub (both from Duke University), and Bilge Erten (Columbia University). The institute reading list includes Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, Essay Concerning the Principles of Moral, and Political Discourses; Smith, The Wealth of Nations; Marx, Capital: Critique of Political Economy; Keynes, "The End of Laissez Faire"; Coase, "The Problem of Social Cost"; and Hayek, The Market and Other Orders.

Faculty: Bradley Bateman, Bilge Erten, Craufurd Goodwin, Ryan Hanley, Tim Leonard, Steven Medema, Malcolm Rutherford, E. Roy Weintraub, Carl Wennerlind

Dates: June 2–21 (3 weeks)
Director(s): Bruce Caldwell, Duke University
Grantee Institutions: Duke University
Location: Durham, NC

About NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study a variety of humanities topics in Summer Seminars and Institutes. Each NEH Summer Seminar includes sixteen participants working in collaboration with one or two leading scholars. Participants have access to a major research collection, with time reserved to pursue individual projects.

Amount of Award

NEH Summer Scholars are awarded fixed stipends to help cover travel costs, books and other research expenses, and living expenses. Stipend amounts are based on the length of the NEH Summer Seminar or Institute: $2,100 (2 weeks), $2,700 (3 weeks), $3,300 (4 weeks), $3,900 (5 weeks), or $4,500 (6 weeks).


NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes are designed primarily for teachers of American undergraduate students. Qualified independent scholars and those employed by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other organizations may be eligible to compete provided they can effectively advance the teaching and research goals of the project.

You may request information about as many projects as you like, but you may apply to no more than two NEH Summer Programs (seminars, institutes, or Landmarks workshops) and you may attend only one.

Please note:

Adjunct faculty, community college faculty and first-time participants are encouraged to apply.

Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are reserved for current full-time graduate students in the humanities.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.