Grad Student Hardin Invited Back to New York University’s Cultures of Finance Group
After attending a week-long symposium last summer hosted by the Cultures of Finance Working Group at NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge, graduate student Carolyn Hardin was invited back in March of 2014 to present her original research as part of the group’s ongoing work on financial derivatives and culture. The Cultures of Finance Working Group made up of leading scholars in multiple fields including Arjun Appadurai, Randy Martin, Edward Lipuma, Benjamin Lee, Bob Meister and Robert Wosnitzer has been working towards a collective book project in recent months and hosted a full day conference entitled “Gifts, Derivatives and Socialities” at NYU on March 21st to bring together other scholars to further the conversation on culture and finance. Hardin presented her research on value and arbitrage alongside members of the Cultures of Finance Working Group and other invited guests Dick Bryan, Fiona Allon, and Martijn Konings of the University of Sydney.
Hardin’s research on arbitrage is derived from her dissertation project, entitled “Arbitrage: A Critique of the Political Economy of Finance,” in which she investigates this financial trading strategy. Arbitrage is the practice of buying something in one market for a low price and selling it in another. This practice is the central organizing logic of contemporary financial markets and was at the heart of the market for subprime mortgage-backed securities that fueled the financial crisis. Yet, arbitrage has received relatively little attention in critiques of finance. Her research fills this gap by examining arbitrage from multiple perspectives: its role in economic theory, its history, its place in the broader economy, and its role in the financial crisis. This analysis puts arbitrage at the center of efforts to rethink and reconstruct post-crisis financial markets. Hardin has recently been awarded a Dissertation Completion Fellowship from UNC’s Graduate School to complete the project in the next year.