Researching Quakers: a fresh look at the history of Quakers and business

16th June 2021 - 16th June 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


This is the third of five sessions running throughout 2021 on the processes of academic Quaker research and some of its most recent findings. This session will give an overview of the received wisdom about how early Quakers went into business because they could not join the professions, and offers an alternative theory.

Following doctoral research into Quakers and business in the 17th and 18th centuries, it will be argued that previous explanations are flawed, and that historians have in fact been attempting to find an answer to the wrong question. Building on a new analysis of the historiography, from Thomas Clarkson’s Portraiture of Quakerism (1795) through John Stephenson Rowntree, Karl Marx, and Max Weber, up to the twenty-first century, this seminar suggests that the real issue is not why so many Quakers engaged in commerce, but why so many in commerce became members of the Society of Friends.

To find out more about the other sessions in the series, simply click on the links below:

Romance and reality – the life cycle of a PhD

UnPlain Quaker Craft – defying accepted wisdom

Course category:

This course will involve:

Live talk

Accessibility info:

On the booking form, there is a chance for you to let us know about any accessibility or communication adjustments that will enable you to participate more fully in the course. Closed captions for live sessions may be available upon request; please contact us directly if you require closed captions.

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