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NEH Funds USD Conference to Explore the Role of Money in the History of Ideas

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Joe Tinguely teaching a philosophy class. He is holding a book and speaking. USD philosophy professor Joseph Tinguely received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to explore the role of money in shaping the human condition.
VERMILLION, S.D. – The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a two-year collaborative research grant to University of South Dakota philosophy professor Joseph Tinguely, Ph.D., to explore the role of money in shaping the human condition. The grant supports a multidisciplinary conference on philosophy and money at USD in summer 2022 with more than 70 invited scholars from across the globe.
Conference speakers are also authors contracted to contribute to the forthcoming “Palgrave Handbook on Philosophy and Money,” edited by Tinguely, who said his interest in money and economics led him to pursue this project.
“I have always been interested economics and what philosophers have to say about it,” he said. “The more I looked into this topic, I realized that there is no organized scholarship. And that’s weird because philosophers will talk about anything.”
According to Tinguely, although the history of philosophy is rich in discussions of money, the topic has been largely neglected in contemporary academic philosophy. This NEH-funded project will bring together leading scholars in the humanities and social sciences to focus on the theoretical foundations that underlie such issues as the morality of renegotiating debt and the politics of inflation.
“The grant allows the opportunity for scholars to sit down with each other and see if there is something to be said about the relationship between philosophy and money in one historical period or one geographical location and another,” he said.
Tinguely said he spent more than a year reaching out to star scholars in their field to contribute to the “Palgrave Handbook on Philosophy and Money” and the conference. “I had hundreds of email conversations with people from around the world, all of whom were supportive and helpful,” he said. “I was very lucky to get high profile, really remarkable scholars.”
It takes interdisciplinary collaboration to determine whether there are discernable and meaningful relationships between a society’s economic modes of social relation and its cultural and intellectual forms of self-understanding, Tinguely explained. Contributors’ disciplines include anthropology, archaeology, classics, economics, history, law, philosophy, political science, religious studies and sociology.
“We know that we couldn’t answer that question within the disciplinary bounds,” he said. “So, if this project works, we will be establishing a different set of working relationships. It’s not clear whether it will work to try to put people from 10 different disciplines together and have them have productive conversations, but there is a possibility that it works and that’s pretty darn exciting.”
USD’s College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college’s more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.
Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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