History of Economics Society annual conference at York starts Friday

The 35th Annual Conference of the History of Economics Society (HES), at York from June 27-30, will tackle everything from market socialism and religion & justice to ethics in America and macroeconomics in the 1950s, as well as take a look at Plato, Aristotle and Marx.

Over 100 participants from around the globe, including from Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, India, the United States, the UK, and France, are expected to participate in the conference at York’s Schulich School of Business.

Right: Avi Cohen

"The History of Economics Society promotes all aspects of the history of economics – inquiry, discourse among scholars and dissemination of knowledge," said York economics Professor Avi Cohen, HES president-elect and conference organizer. One of the avenues the HES uses to explore scholarly analysis within the history of economic thought is through its Journal of the History of Economic Thought, published quarterly by Cambridge University Press.

As the distinguished guest speaker at the conference, Duncan Foley, Leo Model Professor of Economics, New School for Social Research in New York, and external faculty at the Sante Fe Institute, will discuss "The History of Economic Thought in the Education of Duncan Foley" on Saturday.

Left: Duncan Foley

"I envision the talk as centered on my experiences with ‘history of thought’ in economic education, including particularly the experience of Barnard College in requiring a history of thought course for majors, and what I see as the uses of history of thought in graduate education. I will use my own experience as a framework to weave this together," said Foley, author of the books, Adam’s Fallacy: A Guide to Economic Theology (Belknap Press, 2006) and Understanding Capital: Marx’s Economic Theory (Harvard University Press, 2004) as well as co-author of the book, Growth and Distribution (Harvard University Press, 1999).

Foley believes that a history of thought course is a good way to help undergraduates understand economic analysis as a synthetic whole. "It seems to me valuable for graduate students for the same reasons and as a source of ideas for research and a way to build young scholars’ judgment about research ideas. I never had history of thought either as an undergraduate or as a graduate student, and came to feel the need to read and understand at least the core texts in history of thought as an outgrowth of my own research problems."

Right: Sandra Peart

Professor Sandra Peart, dean of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond in Virginia, will give the presidential address, titled "’We’re All ‘Persons’ Now: Classical Economists And Their Opponents On Marriage, The Franchise, And Socialism" on Sunday. Peart is the co-author of The "Vanity of the Philosopher": From Equality to Hierarchy in Post-Classical Economics (University of Michigan Press, 2005) and was a visiting scholar at the Center for Public Choice at George Mason University in 2004.

In her research, Peart focuses on two questions – how do people, who are motivated by private interests, come together to make decisions about the group; and how well do people make such decisions, and are they even able to decide? She uses experimental economics to answer questions of leadership and social good and is currently writing a book about the role of the expert and expertise in society.

Left: Craufurd Goodwin

Craufurd Goodwin, the James B. Duke Professor of Economics at Duke University, will present his talk, "A Return to Moral Sentiments in the 20th Century: Aldo Leopold and E.M. Forster" on Sunday. It will be Goodwin’s first time back at York since his teaching days here in the 1960s. A former Guggenheim Fellow and Smuts Fellow, Goodwin is the past president and Distinguished Fellow of the History of Economics Society.

There will also be a panel discussion on Sunday delving into "Why Do Historians of Economics Hate Social Studies of Science?".

Registration takes place on Friday, June 27 in the lobby entrance of the Seymour Schulich Building, followed by a barbecue, with sessions starting the next day. The cost of registration is $205, $105 for students.

The conference is sponsored by York’s Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation and York’s Department of Economics, Faculty of Arts.

For more information, visit the HES Web site.