About this Project

2016 – 2018

For many humanists and social scientists “the economy” has long been a realm apart, inscrutable to their analysis. In the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008 and the Great Recession that followed, new work, ranging across a number of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, has sought to make the economy newly legible and alive to various forms of scholarly inquiry. Boundaries between economy and history, society, literature, politics, philosophy, law, psyche, environment, and more are being scrutinized. The ambition of this project was to set the groundwork at the University of Chicago for a cross-disciplinary, humanistic social science of economic life. Where, within different methodological and disciplinary approaches, can “the economy” be located? How and for what purposes can it be analyzed? How might various approaches inform one another? Faculty in History, Sociology, and English convened the group with the goal of creating dialogue between humanists and humanistic social scientists who use qualitative and interpretive methods, and social scientists who employ quantitative and mathematical methods.


Organizations for All

February 15, 2018

History Professor Jonathan Levy, a member of the research team on the Economy and its Boundaries project, considers the nineteenth-century expansion of access to formal organization.

Common Ground

October 31, 2017

In the new issue of Dialogo, Amy Dru Stanley and Jonathan Levy, collaborators on The Economy and its Boundaries research project, consider the ways their understanding of the law shapes their historical research.

UChicago Charts Future of Ethnographic Research

April 10, 2017

Faculty Fellows Forrest Stuart (The State, Violence, and Social Control in the Contemporary World), Kimberly Hoang (The Economy and its Boundaries), and Kristen Schilt (Gaming Orientation) represent a new generation of sociologists advancing the University’s multidisciplinary tradition. 


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