Fragile Finances. Dynasties, Debts, and Female Crisis Managers in the Early Modern Period

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The planned section is interesting for teachers and/or students from three points of view: 1) the connection between economic and political security and stability or the connection between economic and ruling crises; 2) the focus on dynasties and dynastic rule in the early modern period as a supplement to the school curriculum; 3) the role model of women as crisis managers and responsible for (family) finances.
Currently and historically, political and economic or financial stability of political communities are closely linked. Economic growth is seen as a guarantee of political security, while inflation, defaults and economic crises evoke images of demonstrations, uprisings and "failed states". This connection will be addressed in the lectures by Sarti and Backerra using historical examples with approaches to solutions at the time. They show that the problem is by no means new, but rather has always existed fundamentally. The analyses presented can serve as inspiration for one's own elaborations, e.g. of the economic crisis preceding the French Revolution.
Dynasties and dynastic rule play only a minor role in most curricula for history teaching, usually limited to the earlier Middle Ages. This contrasts with the central role of dynastic rule in Europe until the 20th century; and even today, about a quarter of the world's countries are monarchies. The section contributions, which all deal with dynasties (ruling and non-ruling), direct the view on the one hand to this form of rule, and on the other hand to intergenerational family groups and their political, economic and social role. They can therefore be seen as a supplement or extension to the regular canon of topics.
Within the dynasty, women repeatedly acted as advisors, financiers and managers in financial crises, as all the lectures in this section will show. Their goal was usually the preservation of the family, its prosperity and its rights to rule, and to this end they organised resources ranging from their own financial means to family assets to loans or debt forgiveness. In contrast, women in Germany today are still less likely than men to work in the financial sector or to take care of financial (private) provision and economic issues. This situation is not only critical from an economic point of view, but also from an individual point of view (cf. discussions about poverty in old age and the general risk of poverty, especially among women). The examples presented could therefore serve as role models or encourage people to critically question traditional role models.

The event will take place in the Zimeliensaal in the Museum of Musical Instruments at the University of Leipzig.

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