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EduMoney

Teaching with Money: Financial Literacy in Tuscan Abacus Manuals and Merchants' Notebooks, 1202-1478
Funder: European CommissionProject code: 101106709 Call for proposal: HORIZON-MSCA-2022-PF-01
Funded under: HE | HORIZON-AG-UN ; HE | HORIZON-TMA-MSCA-PF-GF Funder Contribution: 265,099 EUR

EduMoney

Description

Financial literacy is necessary to spend our money wisely and understand how financial instruments work. In an increasingly complex financial landscape, today only half of the EU adult population has an adequate understanding of basic financial concepts. EduMoney tackles this issue from a historical perspective to offer the first systematic, comprehensive, and digital analysis of the skills and knowledge underpinning financial literacy during another period of increasing financial complexity: the medieval ‘Commercial Revolution’. The focus is on money ‘itself’, and how this was deployed and represented in Tuscan abacus manuals and merchants’ notebooks, the pedagogical tools of the time. The project analyses the period between 1202, when Fibonacci completed his Liber Abaci, and 1478, when the first printed abacus manual known as Aritmetica di Treviso was published. By adopting an interdisciplinary approach that combines methods from economic history, medieval literature, and the history of economic thought, with the support of the latest digital platforms for text analysis, I will digitise, transcribe, and translate a selected corpus of abacus manuals and merchants’ notebooks. This will allow a comparative and digital study of these sources to identify (cross-)references to money that will be grouped into ‘typological families’. The resulting categorisation will form the basis for an in-depth analysis leading to an innovative treatment of money as a heuristic and pedagogical instrument, and to a more holistic understanding of how people lived, learnt, and conceptualised their lives as economic actors. The enhancement of financial literacy among different age groups through a series of didactic and outreach activities will empower people by endowing them with the right tools to make informed decisions to improve their economic wellbeing, thus tackling social and gender inequalities for the development of a more inclusive Europe.

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