ANTH 326 Spring 2013 Financial Lives (W)

Since the 1970s, the international financial sector has grown dramatically, outpacing its traditional role in facilitating international trade and production. New markets in countries which had previously restricted foreign investment, new financial instruments, and new market participants have precipitated growth in the volume of financial flows and in their significance to economies and livelihoods worldwide. In this course, we will consider the financial system from the point of view of those who operate it. We will begin with historical accounts that highlight both the technological advances and the cultural work that have contributed to the development of the American financial system. Then, after an overview of expansion of financial markets since the 1970s, we will investigate the working lives, practices, and perspectives of those who make markets, with case studies from the U.S., the UK, and Japan. Considering financial traders as social beings who form communities, we will investigate their everyday experiences and beliefs, and we will examine how traders build trust, assess risk, forge identities, and create distinction (including along lines of race and gender). We will examine the interplay between knowledge and practice in the financial industry by examining practices of calculation and speculation and by investigating the role of technologies--from paper to mathematical formulae to stock tickers and computers--in shaping those practices. We will also consider shifting definitions of financial success, failure, and corruption in the history of American finance and how traders have attempted to mold public perception of their activities.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: participation; three short papers; a 10-page research proposal
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Prerequisites: none; open to all
Enrollment Preference: Anthropology and Sociology majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division II,Writing Intensive
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Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 19
Class Number: 3791
ANTH326-01(S) SEM Financial Lives (W) Division 2: Social StudiesWriting Intensive Llerena G. Searle
W 1:10 PM-3:50 PM Hopkins Hall 105 3791
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