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IDSEMUG 2055 - The History of American Money and Finance

Through much of American history, the nation’s politics have been consumed by “the money question”: What is money? What is it made of? Who controls it? Now, however, we take money for granted. But should we? These questions are far from settled. Are credit cards money? What about Bitcoins? Who decides what counts as money, now? Who gave them the power to decide? These are not idle questions, either. As the global financial crisis made perfectly clear, the money question bears heavily on us all. In this course, we will examine the history of money and finance in the modern United States. Our inquiry will be driven by three broad questions: How have Americans defined what money is? How have they used money and credit in their daily lives? How and why have financial markets changed? In answering these questions, we will draw on business, economic, social, cultural, political and gender history, as well as the history of technology and the history of race. We will also draw connections between the economic practices of daily life and transformations in global financial markets. This knowledge should provide you with a new perspective on the events of the past, while also helping you to see the present in new light. Add Consent: Department Consent Required.
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Spring 2020, Fall 2019
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