Film, Video Risk Capital: Fictitious Finance & the Rise of the Insurance Business

Transcript: TEXT

About this Item

Title
Risk Capital: Fictitious Finance & the Rise of the Insurance Business
Summary
Elisabeth Engel examines how insurers envisioned, and ultimately invented, significant amounts of American capital to fund the fragile political economy of the United States upon its founding. How can we prosper in times of economic hardship? This question has driven the development of numerous institutions concerned with financial security in the Atlantic world since the early modern period, ranging from friendly societies to welfare states. In North America, it became virulent to unprecedented extents in the late 18th century, once the American Revolution revealed its inglorious financial consequences. When American merchants, farmers, manufacturers and statesmen struggled with shortage of money, diminishing returns and international debts, insurers emerged with a tempting proposition. "Risk capital," a collective fund managed by insurance companies, was presented as an easy way to make money at no cost, while gaining security and profit.
Event Date
October 30, 2019
Notes
-  Elisabeth Engel is a historian of North America in the modern era, specializing in colonial and racial entanglements and the history of risk and uncertainty in the Atlantic world. After receiving her doctorate in modern history from the Freie Universitat Berlin, she joined the GHI as a research fellow. She has worked as an assistant professor at the departments of North American history of the Universitat zu Koln, Universitat Kassel and Freie Universitat Berlin. She was also a visiting scholar at Columbia University, Universite de Montreal and the John Hopkins University. Her first monograph, "Encountering Empire: African American Missionaries in Colonial Africa, 1900-1939," was awarded the Franz Steiner Prize for outstanding manuscripts in the history of transatlantic relations. In her current research, she explores African American missionary photography and discourses on race and the "American Negro" in the ecumenical movement in the 20th century. She is also working on her second book project, in which she traces how notions of risk were constructed and inscribed into the everyday routines of the American population in the American revolutionary era.
Running Time
50 minutes, 20 seconds
Language
English
Online Format
video
online text
image

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Chicago citation style:

Risk Capital: Fictitious Finance & the Rise of the Insurance Business. 2019. Video. https://www.loc.gov/item/webcast-8979/.

APA citation style:

(2019) Risk Capital: Fictitious Finance & the Rise of the Insurance Business. [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/webcast-8979/.

MLA citation style:

Risk Capital: Fictitious Finance & the Rise of the Insurance Business. 2019. Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/webcast-8979/>.

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