October 12, 2016 Sociologist Bruce Carruthers to Discuss Trust and Credit in America, Oct. 28

Annual Maguire Chair Lecture at John W. Kluge Center

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Sociologist Bruce G. Carruthers will discuss how credit and credit decision-making in the United States has developed over the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, in the annual Maguire Lecture at the Library of Congress on Oct. 28.

Carruthers, who held the Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in Ethics and American History at the Library’s John W. Kluge Center in 2016, will present “The Economy of Promises: Trust and Credit in America,” at 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 28, in the Whittall Pavilion on the ground floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not needed.

In his lecture, Carruthers will examine how the automated credit scores and credit-rating systems of today have evolved from older methods that depended on individual reputations and personal relationships. He will also investigate how, in an economy that depends on credit, people manage trust and how they reduce uncertainty and vulnerability. The talk will be the culmination of three months of research on the topic as the Maguire Chair at the Library of Congress. Carruthers used the Library’s collections to research the project for an upcoming book tentatively titled “An Economy of Promises: Trust and Credit in America.”

A sociologist of economy and law, Carruthers is the John D. MacArthur Chair and Professor of Sociology and director of the Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University. He is the author or co-author of five books on markets, business, the economy and politics. His most recent book, “Money and Credit: A Sociological Approach,” examined the social dimensions of money and credit and the individual and corporate levels. His 2009 book “Bankrupt: Global Lawmaking and Systemic Financial Crisis,” co-authored with Terence C. Halliday, studied how global actors have shaped corporate bankruptcy laws around the world.

At Northwestern, his areas of research include the historical evolution of credit as a problem in the sociology of trust, regulatory arbitrage, what modern derivatives markets reveal about the relationship between law and capitalism, and the regulation of credit for poor people in early 20th-century America.

Carruthers has held visiting fellowships at the Russell Sage Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin. He has also received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1991.

The Cary and Ann Maguire Chair is a distinguished senior research position in residence at the Library appointed by the Librarian of Congress. Using research facilities and services at the Library of Congress, the scholar is expected to explore the history of America with special attention to the ethical dimensions of domestic economic, political and social policies and present a lecture on the research at the end of the tenure. For more information, visit loc.gov/kluge/fellowships/maguire.html/.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world's best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another, to distill wisdom from the Library's rich resources, and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For more information about the Kluge Center, visit loc.gov/kluge/.


PR 16-182
ISSN 0731-3527