O’Connell Initiative: “Unveiling Money” with Dr. Johan Mathew

On October 17th, Dr. Johan Mathew, Assistant Professor of History at Rutgers University gave a talk at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus based on research from his prizewinning book, Margins of the Market: Trafficking and Capitalism Across the Arabian Sea (University of California Press, 2016). The talk, titled “Unveiling Money: Counterfeits, Arbitrage, and Finance across the Arabian Sea,” analyzed the influence trafficking and smuggling had on monetary policies across a region that included Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Dr. Mathew spoke about his sources, explaining to his audience that trafficking creates detailed records of trade. This rich source of records includes contracts and family papers from ‘diasporic archives.’ Dr. Mathew explained how the nature of money was changed by merchant networks, by the multiplicity of them and the instability within them. In his lecture, Dr. Mathew defined ‘capitalism’ as a loose system of analysis that covers free labor, private property, and monetary exchange. 

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