13th annual critical finance studies conference

Critical Finance Studies

6-8 September 2021

                     ‘BUILDING BACK BETTER? FINANCING A RESILIENT,                                                             SUSTAINABLE AND INCLUSIVE GLOBAL RECOVERY’ 

                                                Online conference

We are delighted to announce that the 13th Critical Finance Studies Conference will be held in an online format from the 6th to the 8th of September 2021. The conference – co-organised by the University of Leeds, Tilburg University and the University of York – is part of an ongoing project that seeks to engage with finance in critical and creative ways.  Building on the successful online version of the conference delivered by our colleagues and friends at Goldsmiths, University of London last year, the 2021 event will include three online keynote sessions alongside traditional online paper presentations. In keeping with the critical financial studies community’s support for early career researchers, we would like to encourage graduate students that are keen to receive constructive feedback on their ongoing work in the light of increasingly limited opportunities to present and network during the pandemic.


Shedding light on the limitations of current economic systems, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to demand the development critical financial insights, drawing from a range of disciplines – from economics to law, sociology, accounting, arts and culture, philosophy, and politics, to name a few. 

This year, invited keynote speakers will speak to the issue of ‘Building Back Better? Financing a Resilient, Sustainable and Inclusive Global Recovery.’

A year into the global pandemic, international organizations and national governments have declared their intentions to ‘build back better’ from the unprecedented health, socioeconomic, and humanitarian crisis triggered by Covid-19, which has caused a multi-scalar global financial meltdown. Not only are populations being offered a recovery, but vision of a more equitable and sustainable post-pandemic world. This is unlikely to be simply a case of building a new consensus on how to govern or rebuild the global economy. As such, in a world dominated by the imperatives of financial accumulation, we might well ask: building back better for whom?

Critical finance scholars are accustomed to questioning the dominant narratives that surround finance, the global spread of financial flows and the penetration of the logics and devices of finance into many aspects of everyday life. Thinking critically about finance yields a number of concerns about building back better. The last decade has seen a concerted shift in the governance of crisis whereby a vast array of financial ‘theories, concepts and calculative devices’ have been enlisted to provide ‘governance through economy’ (Langley, 2017).  The inevitable question of funding this recovery raises the very real prospect that private portfolio gluts and managed money will be the driver of the great rebuild in many parts of the world (Gabor, 2021). Consequently, from the vantage point of critical finance studies, one might well question the ability to address historical condition of inequity through financial market practices and mechanisms that necessarily cultivate hierarchies of ‘risky populations’ and offer only the illusion of safety and equity (Kear, 2012).

We invite papers that stage risky confrontations between finance and current issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, rising inequalities across the globe the breakdown of parliamentary politics, the persistence of racism and gender discrimination, the rise of populism and crises of migration. In particular, we welcome papers that do not presume an easy separation between economic, legal, social, cultural and political realms but that instead provoke rethinking of boundaries.

Papers are encouraged that approach finance through underexplored perspectives such as racial capitalism, climate finance, everyday financialization, gender and finance, Islamic finance, and financialization in the Global South.

Topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • Critical finance in times of COVID-19
  • Racial capitalism and finance
  • The financialization of the university
  • Gender and financial capitalism
  • Financialization and climate change
  • The legal structures of finance and financialization
  • The asset economy
  • Finance and the gig economy
  • The role of both public and private finance in global development
  • Finance and the rise of populism
  • Financialization and the Global South
  • Risk societies and cultures of volatility
  • The politics of money in the global economy
  • De-financialization and divestment strategies
  • Financialization and subjectivity
  • Links between finance and ethics, theology, art, film, etc.


Please submit abstracts to [email protected] by 10th June.

We will confirm paper acceptance by 10th July.

We are more than happy to provide discussants for papers. Please indicate if you would like this. We will require papers to be submitted by 23rd August.


This conference is being organized by John Morris (University of Warwick),  Karina Patricio Ferreira Lima (University of Leeds), Tim Christiaens (Tilburg University) and Philip Garnett (University of York).