CfP: Knowledge and coping strategies during stock market crashes (18th to 20th century)

Call for papers, deadline 31 July 2020

Update: Due to the current pandemic, this workshop will not take place in Tübingen, instead it will be organized via video-conference. The new deadline for the CfP is 31 July 2020.

Project E04 “Threat Communication, Coping and Stock Market Speculation. Bull Markets, Crashes and Knowledge” (18th-19th Century)” of the CRC 923 “Threatened Orders – Societies under Stress” invites proposals for papers to be presented at a virtual workshop on 29 and 30 October 2020.

There can no doubt that financial speculation is a common occurrence in the modern economic system and often goes hand in hand with stock market crashes. Toni Pierenkemper states that crises caused by speculation are “something quite normal within the modern economy” and Charles Kindleberger and Robert Z. Aliber assume a cyclical reoccurrence of manias and panics . Following this assumption, one has to ask what kind of knowledge about previous crises and crashes existed and whether and how actors used or intended to use this knowledge to cope with their own financial crisis or crash.
The workshop’s goal is to investigate different actors or groups of actors that are part of or affected by stock market crashes. We are especially interested in analysing what effect group affiliations have on the actors’ knowledge – and importantly also on their non-knowledge. Thus, one can certainly divide participants into insiders and outsiders, whose knowledge of the functioning, processes and effects of the stock market diverges greatly.
Various groups of actors however, do not only differ with regard to their (non-)knowledge but also with respect to their power to collect, legitimise and distribute their knowledge. Therefore, we want to investigate the limitations to knowledge and whether there were kinds of “repressed” knowledge. Asymmetries of knowledge based on power can establish themselves between insiders and outsiders, but also between merchants trading in the stock market, entrepreneurs and the state. In addition, there are “scientists”, journalists, and moralists with their specific expertise.
Furthermore, our epistemological interest concerns the influence of actors who (previously) did not take part in the stock market (i.e. governments, inexperienced speculators). What effect did they have on the evolution of a stock market crash? Knowledge and non-knowledge play a central role in answering this question as well.

We invite those interested in dealing with stock market crashes and crises in the context of knowledge and practices of knowledge from the 18th to the 20th century to send abstracts of max. 500 words and a short CV to either Christoph Blum or Anna Weininger by July 31th.

E-Mail: or

We will inform all participants about specific guidelines for the virtual presentations as soon as possible.

Possible research questions:
- What kind of knowledge about previous crashes or crises was available to actors and how did they use it?
- Which groups of actors existed and what effects did their group affiliations have on their knowledge?
- Which limitations existed with regard to knowledge about previous crashes and the inner workings of the stock market in general? Which role did power structures play and was there any “repressed” knowledge?
- What influence did actors have on the course of crashes and crises who previously did not take part in the stock market? Can governmental regulations stop or lessen the impact of a crisis?