Not available in 2021/22
EH439      Half Unit
The History of Banking Systems

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Natacha Postel-Vinay


This course will be available on the MSc Financial History.

Course content

This course introduces students to problematics around the history of banking. It explores the rise of financial intermediaries over the centuries and how their role evolved from simple money changers to money creators via lending. Banks can sometimes fail; historical causes of these failures as well as macroeconomic consequences will be explored, going from the 19C through the Great Depression to the 21C. Countries have historically been aware of the central tension between the necessity to save a financial system from collapse and the imperative of no moral hazard created in the process. By looking at the evolution of crisis resolution and aspects of preventive regulation students will gain a deep understanding of the history of banking in the developed world.


20 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay and 1 presentation in the LT.

Indicative reading

  • Tooze, A. (2018). Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World. London: Penguin Books.
  • Aliber, R., & Kindleberger, Charles P. (2015). Manias, panics and crashes: A history of financial crises (Seventh ed.). Palgrave.
  • Straumann, T. (2019). Debt, Crisis, and the Rise of Hitler. Oxford University Press.
  • Galbraith, J. K. (2009) [1954]. The Great Crash 1929. Penguin.
  • Bordo, M., Eichengreen, B., Klingebiel, D., & Martinez‐Peria, M. S. (2001). “Is the crisis problem growing more severe?”, Economic policy, 16(32), 52-82.


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the LT Week 10.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills