Summer and Social Studies of Finance: class starts on Monday!

July 5, 2013

The sun has finally arrived to London and the London School of Economics. And this coming Monday marks the beginning of the new Summer School in Social Studies of Finance.

As I discussed before, this is the first course of its kind. With twelve three-hour lectures, afternoon classes and a graded exam at the end, it’s a “real course” rather than an excuse to enjoy the summer in London. We have 40 registered students — such large number that even the LSE administrators were surprised. And we’ve been lucky to get a lecture room in our brand new building, 32 Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

I will be teaching most of the lectures. Yuval Millo and Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra will be joining as well — almost the entire “sociology of financial exchanges” gang that wrote the UK Government reports on automated trading.

As promised, I will be posting material for the many of you who have written regretting you could not be here. For starters, here’s the complete syllabus. Our first lecture starts by asking, “What is the Social Studies of Finance?” It examines the role of calculative devices and materiality in trading rooms. And yes, I will be talking about “Tools of the Trade.”

Cliché as it sounds, I’m excited about the course. In a recent LSE talk, Craig Calhoun remarked that the key to academic impact is to develop a public. That is, a classroom full of interested people, not readers of academic papers. As I learnt, this is difficult when teaching a compulsory core course, as one is dealing with a captive audience. But a summer course, I think, comes pretty close to “a public.” It’s early to tell at this point, but I’ll let you know!

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