Interview with Guilherme Sampaio

08.06.2020 - 30.09.2020

Can you present your research during your stay at CY|AS?

Since the 2008 Great Recession, French intellectuals have denounced the homogenisation of economics along Anglo-American trends emphasizing mathematical formalisation. Yet how historically French economics followed that path is a topic that has received little scholarly attention. During my first year as a CY|AS Junior Fellow, I began tackling that historiographic gap by working on a book manuscript, under contract with Routledge, that examines for the first time in a systematic way how Keynes’s writings (be it newspaper articles or monographs) were translated and received in France from the 1920s to the 1950s. I demonstrate that unlike prevailing narratives, Keynes’s economic ideas and ensuing Keynesianism(s) never became dominant in France. Not only they suffered the competition of other schools of thought (like microeconomics and Marxian economics) but were the subject of multiple and conflicting interpretations. At the same time, the book shows that interest for and against Keynes (including long-lasting debates about ‘what Keynes really meant’) helped accelerating the transmission of Anglo-American economics literature to France.

In my second year as a Junior Fellow I will therefore not only finish my manuscript but work on two articles studying how translations and knowledge diffusion helped transferring to France two crucial post–1945 Anglo-American developments in macroeconomic thought: the neoclassical synthesis and macroeconomic forecasting.

Does the Fellows-in-Residence program meet your objectives in terms of research and scientific collaboration?

CY|AS has given me the time and means to do the archival and library research work necessary to write my book manuscript. Equally as important, it enabled me to strengthen previous collaborations with AGORA via Emmanuelle de Champs and Catherine Marshall. AGORA meanwhile further gave me access to research expertise on post-1945 French economic and transatlantic international relations history, thanks to Régine Perron. Last but not least, thanks to CY|AS I have started collaborating with THEMA via Yann Giraud, with whom I share a research interest on post-1945 economics.

One of the fruits of these synergies, which shows how CY|AS research benefits the wider CY Cergy Paris Université academic community, is that together with Yann and Emmanuelle I will be teaching in 2020/21 a new MA course offered by Cergy University, entitled ‘Political Ideas on a Digital Age’. This will be an opportunity for me to convey to graduate students my investigations on the links between the development of technocratic expertise and the operationalisation of macroeconomics.

Describe your impressions of your experience at CY|AS

CY|AS offers a very multidisciplinary environment, which is helping me develop my skills in communicating my specialised knowledge to a much broader academic audience that is often not in tune with historical debates. In turn, I have had the opportunity to engage in fruitful transdisciplinary conversations not only with economists but with STEM researchers. In short, CY|AS offers an excellent opportunity to step outside one’s intellectual comfort zones in a productive way that brings back new elements to our research and particularly how we present it.  

At this stage I should also mention CY|AS’s excellent workplace facilities and emphasise the extent of the administrative and logistical support offered, which is a result of the human qualities and professional dedication of its personnel. Their unwavering dedication made adapting to life in France and getting on with my work a very smooth experience.

What will this research period bring to you and to your home university?

As a junior researcher, productive time to work and write is absolutely essential and my Fellowship at CY|AS will allow me to significantly strengthen my curriculum by publishing my first monograph and submitting articles to refereed journals. Moreover, the teaching experience that I will gain in my second year as a Fellow will equally put me in a stronger position towards applying to a more permanent academic position afterwards. Furthermore, by enabling me to be in daily contact with CY Cergy Université’s French academic community, CY|AS has also permitted me to greatly strengthen my proficiency in French!

Do you have other plans for the future, other destinations in mind?

Given that a great part of my research involves working primarily with French sources and about French historical contexts, for now I am primarily focused on building the possibility of continue working in France after my Junior Fellowship comes to an end. However, as one of my research focus concerns the interactions of economic thought with the European integration process, I am starting to prepare a new research project for a potential application to the Marie-Curie Research Program.