Archives, Expertise, and the Practice of Political Economy in the British Atlantic World | Labour and Humanities Seminar with Asheesh Kapur Siddique

When and Where

Monday, March 15, 2021 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm


Professor Asheesh Kapur Siddique, Department of History, University of Massachusetts-Amherst


A video recording of this event is now available.

This talk explores the origins, uses—and demise—of an overlooked technique of producing political economic knowledge in the early modern world: arguing from the authority of official paperwork and  administrative archives. 

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, archival records were powerful sources of policy arguments about government and political economy. Focusing on the early modern British empire, the talk traces the origins of these archival methods; of work in the archives themselves; of their application to governing empire and in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; and how they empowered a specific form of bureaucratic expert. By the early nineteenth century, however, emerging conceptual divisions between ‘political economy’ and ‘history' removed archives from the remit of bureaucratic labor, and centered new forms of technical expertise. 

Hosted jointly with the Centre for Diaspora & Transnational Studies (CDTS) with the support of the Faculty of Arts & Science, the Labour and Humanities Seminar brings distinguished scholars in the humanities working on themes related to labour, globalization and employment relations to the University of Toronto to present and discuss their work. 


Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies