Preparing for TEDxAmsterdam

This Thursday I will give a talk @ TedXAmsterdam – the BigX – 10th edition.
I will talk about the history of the stock market – about how we lost touch with the world of finance. To “make sense” of finance, Timothy de Paepe has made 3d representations of the old Amsterdam Stock Exchange. And Iscent has composed a Scent of the Stock exchange. Certainly looking forward to be on stage with Aroma jockey Jorg!
And I love what they did with my name:

SPEAKERS | Meet , Professor of Cultural History at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and director of ACCESS (the Amsterdam Center for Emotion and Sensory Studies). What to expect from her talk? Let’s just say she will engage all your senses.


Tokyo Workshop: Future research in the history of financial behaviour

Saturday 13 Oct. 2018, we organize a workshop at the University of Tokyo on

Future research in the history of financial behaviour

VENUE:東京大学本郷キャンパス国際学術総合研究棟515 教室

Seminar Room 515, International Academic Research Bldg., Hongo Campus, UTokyo


This workshop explores potential directions for research in the history of financial behaviour. Although concerned with behaviour over the long run, we will focus our discussions on the bubbles of 1719/20. The bubbles of 1719/20 are frequently described as the first international financial crisis and hence have become a marker for discussion of the nature of crisis, its origins and the ways that authorities respond to speculative episodes. 1719/20 research has long been dominated by debates over the (ir)rationality of investor behaviour. We seek to challenge this view from historical perspective. The forthcoming tercentenary of the bubbles in 2020 provides momentum for new research and increased interest in the history of speculation and offers the opportunity to engage critically with the myths and misconceptions that surround speculative episodes; We are particularly interested in establishing what aspects of the speculative episodes require rethinking (for example, the use of labels such as irrational, fraud and deception) and what are the remaining gaps in our empirical knowledge. The workshop will bring together scholars from different disciplines to discuss how we can usefully combine disciplinary approaches to better understanding financial behaviour.


9.30 – 9.40 Welcome by Tetsuji Okasaki, University of Tokyo

9.40 – 9.45 Introduction to the theme of workshop Koji Yamamoto, University of Tokyo

9.45 – 10.30 Shinsuke Satsuma, Hiroshima University

The South Sea Company and British Policy towards Spanish America in

the First Half of the Eighteenth Century’

10.30 – 11.15 Anne L. Murphy, University of Hertfordshire

What was a stockjobber?

11.15 – 11.30 Coffee break

11.30 – 12.15 Tim Johnson, Heriot-Watt University

Science and Finance: The Role of the Idea of Genius in Bubble Formation

12.15 – 13.00 Helen Paul, University of Southhampton

Case studies of individual investment in the South Sea Bubble

13.00 – 14.30 Lunch

14.30 – 15.15 Koji Yamamoto, University of Tokyo

Beyond Rational and Irrational Bubbles: A Case of James Brydges the

Duke of Chandos

15.15 – 16.00 Aaron Graham, University College London

Bounded rationality, ‘bounded morality’, and financial behaviour in the

South Sea Bubble

16.00 – 16:15 Coffee break

16.15 – 17:00 Inger Leemans, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The Amsterdam Stock Exchange as Affective Economy

17.00 – 18.00 Comments & discussion led by Tetsuji Okazaki and Makoto Kasuya

18.00 – 18.45 On-site Reception

This workshop is funded by:


Center for International Research on

the Japanese Economy

Imagineering: the kite of state

Ever wondered what the relation is between kites, state building and economics? Our new article in Early Modern Low Countries journal on the “Kite of State” dives into the history of kiting and analyses the imagineering techniques of this device. The introduction of kiting in Europe, around 1600, not also provided a new toy for children, it also stimulated imagination and helped to conceptualize the abstract concept of state formation in general, and the construction of the Dutch Republic specifically. In competition with the traditional iconography of bubbles, Icarus, the Ship of State and the Body Politic, the kite provided new opportunities for cultural imagery. It facilitated the analysis and visualisation of complex phenomena such as the state system of the Dutch Republic, the interplay between Stadtholder and Land’s Advocate, the ambition of statesmen, the international balance of power, and – in the realm of economics – speculative stock trading. The kite, a new technological device, helped to narrate the story of a proud Republic, based on technological accomplishments, economic modernity and moral superiority, and admired by other nations for its high flight.


Why Wind? Article in Dutch national newspaper about my research

Trouw artikel over Windhandel

Today, Trouw published a 2 page long, marvelous article about my stock market research, specifically about the project Wouter de Vries (PhD student VU) and I conducted on the concept of “Windhandel” (wind trade). Where the English prefer “bubble” to indicate speculative trade, and the French would use terms like “bulle spéculative” or “système de John Law” (for the financial crisis of 1720), the Dutch use the term “Windhandel”. Many authors think this term has been in use since the start of stock trading and Tulipmania, at the beginning of the seventeenth century. We discovered that this is quite incorrect. The concept of windhandel was used now and then at the end of the 17th century, but suddenly boomed into existence during the financial crisis of 1720. In our research, we try to explain why this happened and how the concept of windhandel shaped our ideas about stock trading in general and speculations and financial crises specifically.

Willem Schoonen, chief editor of the science section of Trouw covered this research in a very insightful article.

May 2017 – research in France /Italy

Quite a month – this month of May:

2017-04-28 14.23.05

Started out in the Paris Archives Nationales – to explore documents on  stock trading practices and discourses. Found great stuf – about John Law and his system, bankrupted traders, bourse locations, and even “agioteuses” – female traders, reprimanded for their speculative actions.

In a false moment of historical sensation, I thought I bumped into my own name at the edicts du roy (but it turned out to be the word “juger”). What is more interesting: I found a sealed letter with a testament – only to be opened in the presence of Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck. Let’s see whether we can persuade the French collection specialists to break the seals….


From France to Vercelli, to a wonderful workshop on Women and Early Modern Philosophy and Science, where I presented a paper on “The Science of Sex”.


On to Rennes, where I met with a great, interdisciplinary, international group of researchers working on the 1720 financial crisis and its representations: “Représentations de la spéculation. Le Système de Law et ses miroirs européens (1715-1725). AFFICHE JE 19 MAI. We discussed the many activities we plan for 2020 – the 300 year’s “anniversary” of the 1720 bubble – scheme – wind trade. Presented a work in progress paper, that I am writing together with Wouter de Vries on the concept of Wind trade / Windhandel:

Purquoi le vent?

Back to Paris, for more archival research and for a workshop on Civic epistemologies – knowledge and the Early modern City.

And a tour along the historical sites of Paris early modern trading  locations (Rue de Quincampoix, Hotel de Nevers, Hotel de Soissons, Bourse de Commerce, etc) – scattered over the city, mostly destroyed, rebuilt, reallocated or under construction:


In between: lots of time in TGV and Thalys to read these two – quite contrasting – new publications on Le système de Law:


Perspective web

This week, we’re at the Lorentz Center at Leiden for an intensive Workshop on “Language, Knowledge and People in Perspective”. The workshop brings together an interestingly diverse group of experts on NLP, semantic Web, media studies, social sciences, and companies working on data science and perspective mining: Elsevier, Trivago, Blendle, Kieskompas, research journalism. What are we trying to accomplish? Nothing less than a Perspective Web for all.






Het is Boekenweek – thema: verboden vruchten. Werk aan de winkel dus!

  • Zondag bij VPRO OVT over pornopioniers van de 17e eeuw: