Research School for Economic and Social History


7 - 8 April 2022
Utrecht University, The Netherlands (exact location tba)

Call for abstracts Workshop ‘A Tapestry of Rules’

On 7 and 8 April 2022, Faheem Rokadiya (PhD Posthumus participant) and Dr Kate Frederick, both affiliated with the Research Group Economic and Social History at Utrecht University will organise the Workshop ‘Tapestry of Rules: This Institutions and Cloth Industries in Global Comparative Perspective, 1750-2000’. This workshop specifically explores the role of formal and informal institutions – the social, economic, political, and cultural “rules of the game” – in influencing textile manufacturing in different world regions over time, with particular reference to the interlinking relationships between institutions and other explanatory variables.

Traditions of textile manufacturing have developed in nearly all parts of the globe. However, the characteristics and development trajectories of these industries have differed markedly over time and across space. The global centre of manufacturing gravity has shifted from East to West and back again over the past three centuries, while in some cases, handicraft industries have persisted, but industrialization has long remained elusive. Scholars like Williamson, Pomeranz, and Mokyr have pointed to a number of key explanatory factors that have influenced temporally and geographically divergent industrial developments, including market forces, resource endowments, and institutions.

This workshop encourages temporal and geographic comparisons and welcomes contributions from scholars studying all parts of the globe. This workshop forms part of the ERC project Race to the bottom? Family labour, household livelihood and consumption in the relocation of global cotton manufacturing, ca. 1750-1990.