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SOE Faculty Attended the 51th Annual UK History of Economic Thought Conference


The 51th annual UK History of Economic Thought Conference took place on 5 and 6 September at Goldsmiths, University of London. Five SOE faculty members from the Department of Economic History, including Prof. Lin Cheng, Prof. Fang Wang, Prof. Terry Peach, Dr. Xudong Chen and Dr. Jie Liang, were invited to attend and speak at the conference. During the conference, they had in-depth discussions and interactions with other acclaimed scholars who participated in the conference. Their attendance helped disseminate Chinese economic thought to overseas audiences.

Faculty members from Department of Economic Thought, left to right: Prof. Fang Wang, Prof. Lin Cheng, Prof. Terry Peach, Dr. Jie Liang, Dr. Xudong Chen

Similar to last year, the conference included a special session on the Chinese economic thought: “Economic Disputes in Ancient China”. In the session, Prof. Lin Cheng gave a talk entitled “The Concept of “Minying Economy” since the Reform and Opening-up: Evolution and Controversy”, Prof. Fang Wang gave a talk on “From “yin wei shangbi” to “yin qian liangquan”: The formation and evolution of silver circulation thought in the late Ming Dynasty”, Dr, Xudong Chen gave a talk on“An “Agricultural-based” Nation or an “Industrial-based” One? On the Debate of China’s Industrialization in the 1920s and 1930s”and Dr. Jie Liang gave a talk on “Debates on the construction of railways in Late Imperial China”. In the end, Prof. Terry Peach presented the findings of the research project “On the Nature and Evolution of Ancient (pre-Qin) Chinese Economic Thought: An Outline”. The participating scholars had lively exchanges with the five faculty members about their talks afterwards.

Prof. Lin Cheng, Prof. Fang Wang, Dr. Xudong Chen and Dr. Jie Liang gave their presentations

The UK History of Economic Thought Conference has a long history. It was initiated by the older generation of economists including Lionel Robbins, John Hicks, and Mark Blaug and is organized by THETS. The first conference took place in 1968 and has been held on an annual basis ever since then. Prof. Lin Cheng attended its 41st annual conference as an invited guest in 2009 and Prof. Fang Wang attended the 47th annual conference in 2015. In 2016, the Department of Economic History of SOE cooperated with THETS in hosting the 48th annual conference in Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, which was the first time that its annual conference was held outside the U.K.  Under the efforts of Prof. Terry Peach, a special session on the history of Chinese economic thought was organized in the 50th conference, which was the only session on economic thoughts from outside the Europe; during this conference, Prof. Terry Peach was elected the Chair of the UK History of Economic Thought Society, all of which demonstrate the research strength and global academic presence of the Department of Economic History.

In recent years, through Prof. Terry Peach’s efforts, many conferences on the economic thought, such as the Annual Conference of the European Society for the History of Economic Thought (ESHET) and the Annual UK History of Economic Thought Conference, have organized a special session to highlight the history of economic thought in China, reflecting the greater impact that Chinese history of economic has in the international academia.

In addition to the special session, several experts and scholars’ talks have direct or indirect relationship with China. For example, Prof. Gerardo Serra of the University of Manchester gave a talk entitled “How Joan Robinson Observed and Narrated China: 1953-1978”. Besides, many participants, such as Dr. Akira Ou of Osaka University and Dr. Donni Wang of Stanford University, knew quite a lot about Chinese history of economic thought. The five faculty members from SOE conducted extensive and in-depth exchanges with them.