Friday, September 19, 2014

CFP: Economic and Business History of Latin America in Chile

As part of the 80th anniversary celebrations of the Faculty of Economics and Business of the University of Chile, the Faculty is hosting an International Conference on the Economic and Business History of Latin America to be held on December 12, 2014 in its premises in Santiago, Chile. The conference invites contributions in English or Spanish in all areas associated to the themes of the conference. A selection of the participating papers will be invited to be published in a special issue of the journal Estudios de Economía with Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo (Bangor University) as guest editor. The conference is organized with the sponsorship of Universidad de Santiago de Chile.
    The conference is also organizing a posters session open to undergraduate and postgraduate students undertaking their thesis in any field relevant to the conference. The best posters will be awarded a prize. The deadline for submitting contributions and posters is October 19, 2014
     An extended abstract of up to 1000 words explaining the research question, the data and methods employed and the main results and conclusions should be sent to The deadline for sending complete versions of the papers is December 1, and the deadline for submitting the final, revised versions of the papers to be published in Estudios de Economía is January 18, 2015. The special issue will be published in May 2015.
      Scientific Committee
Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo (Bangor University)
José Díaz (ClioLab, Universidad Católica de Chile)
Bernardita Escobar (Universidad Diego Portales)
Manuel Llorca (Universidad de Santiago de Chile)
Mario Matus (Universidad de Chile)
Javier Núñez (Universidad de Chile)
César Yáñez (Universidad de Barcelona & Universidad de Valparaíso)

Program: American Society for Legal History Annual Meeting

The preliminary program for the annual meeting of the American Society for Legal History (ASLH), to be held on November 6-9, 2014 in Denver, Colorado, has been posted.  Papers of interest include
  • Justene G. Hill, Princeton University, “'A Monstrous Nuisance': Legislative Responses to Slave Economies in South Carolina, 1850-1860” (Friday, A2)
  • Tamara Venit-Shelton, Claremont McKenna College, “Too Big to Fail? Stephen Mallory White, the Southern Pacific, and the Transformation of Anti-Monopolist Politics in California and the Nation” (Friday, B2)
  • Megan Francis, University of Washington, “Black Convict Labor, Capitalism, and the Rise of the New South” (Saturday, D4)
and entire sessions such as
  • “Law's Governance and Labor's Bodies” (Friday, B3)
  • “ 'The Crime Against the Economy': Revolutions, Markets and the Law” (Friday, C2)
  • “Building a Public Economy: New Approaches to Progressive-Era Economic Regulation” (Saturday, B4)
Those interested in attending the meeting can find full information on the ASLH conference website.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

“Green Capitalism” Conference Program Now Available

A conference on "Green Capitalism? At the Crossroads of Environmental and Business History" will take place at the Hagley Museum and Library on October 30-31, 2014. The program has now been posted. Cosponsored by the Hagley's Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society and the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C., the conference will feature a wrap-up summation by Christine Meisner Rosen of the University of California at Berkeley. Session topics include "Firms as Conservationists?", "Consumers' Demands," "Globalization," "Firms Going Green," and "Governance."
     The meeting is open to all without fee, but advance registration is required. Those interested should contact Carol Lockman,, for program and registration information.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fellowship: History of American Capitalism

The 2015-2016 fellowship competition at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard (CWC) will focus on "The History of American Capitalism." According to the announcement:
We propose to build on the growing scholarly interest in political economy and the history of capitalism while at once broadening its scope and creating a cross-disciplinary endeavor that embraces the sociology of knowledge, the study of technology and material culture, changing paradigms of political authority, the re-organization of family life, the invention of the modern private subject, and the birth of liberal ideology. We shall accordingly seek to include in the ranks of our fellows and guest lecturers scholars from such diverse fields as anthropology, business, engineering, law, political philosophy, and, yes, economics.
Fellows will present their work in a seminar led by Sven Beckert (History), Christine Desan (Law School), and Michael Zakim (University of Tel Aviv). Applicants may not be degree candidates and should have a Ph.D. or equivalent. Fellows must be in residence for at least the nine-month academic year. Applications are due by December 12, 2014, letters of recommendation by January 15, 2015. For a fuller description of the program and a link to application materials, please see the CWC announcement.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

OTC: Notes of Interest, No. 4

Items of interest from around the Web:

From the Museum of the City of New York: a new exhibition featuring the work of advertising illustrator Mac Connor (physical exhibit, but many on-line examples)

From the New-York Historical Society blog: a post on "When Edison Lit Up Manhattan"

As part of the British Library's "Endangered Archives" project, a large group of digitized documents from nineteenth-century Sierra Leone have been posted; many of the items concern "liberated Africans"--Africans freed from slave ships by the British Royal Navy

The program is available for "All at Sea: An International Conference on Prize Papers" to be held in early October at the UK National Archives; more information about the prize papers (intercepted mail and legal documents found on captured ships and now part of British High Court of Admiralty records) can be found here.
The Atlantic has an interview with Kara Swanson about her new book, Banking on the Body (Harvard University Press, 2014)

The Harvard Business Review has an annotated graphic of "The Chart that Organized the 20th Century"--the organization chart for the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroad system from Ray Morris's Railroad Administration (1910). (The book is available online here, but the chart, a fold-out, is not viewable.)

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Heineken, the Stadsarchief in Amsterdam prepared a special exhibition, "Heineken's Amsterdam." The physical exhibition closed in May, but the website remains (text is in Dutch).

Robert Darnton has launched a website on "Publishing and the Book Trade in France and Francophone Europe, 1769-1789," where "users can follow the play of supply and demand in literature, town by town and bookseller by bookseller. They can also study publishing strategies, pirating, smuggling, shipping, the role of booksellers as cultural intermediaries, and the pattern of best-sellers on a national scale."

A recent post on the blog of the James Hardiman Library at the National University of Galway describes the O’Connor Donelan collection, papers from a landed estate. This material is part of a much larger Landed Estates Database covering holdings in Connacht and Munster.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Economist Review Generates Discussion of Slavery and Capitalism

On September 4, 2014, The Economist published a short review of Edward Baptist's newly released book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (Basic Books, 2014). The unsigned review concluded that "Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains. This is not history; it is advocacy."
     The review in general and this comment in particular generated a firestorm of criticism from academics (including numerous sarcastic tweets; Twitter users may check #EconomistBookReviews). The publisher quickly withdrew the piece, though it is still viewable here (minus the still photo originally included of Patsey from the movie "12 Years a Slave," with the caption "Patsey was certainly a valuable property;" that can be viewed here).
     Beyond the furor, the episode generated interesting discussions of the historiography of slavery and capitalism in the United States, links to some of which are collated here:
Jim Downs, " 'Big Wheel Keep on Turnin' ': Slavery, Capitalism, and The Economist," The Huffington Post
"History, Hashtags, and the Truth about Slavery," Chronicle of Higher Education
Matthew Yglesias's extended commentary, on Vox
Jonathan Wilson, review, "Another Kind of Blood: Edward Baptist on America's Slaver Capitalism," The Junto (published before the Economist review)
Hector Tobar, review, LA Times
Ellora Derenoncourt, "The Slaver's Objectivity," The Jacobin
Greg Grandin, " 'The Economist' Has a Slavery Problem," The Nation
Fergus M. Bordewich, review, Wall Street Journal
Edward Baptist responded to the Economist review here:
"What the Economist Doesn't Get about Slavery--and My Book," Politico
Baptist, "The Economist Review," Talking Points Memo
Baptist, "How slavery haunts today's America," CNN
Baptist, "The Economist's review of my book reveals how white people still refuse to believe black people about being black," The Guardian
He can be found discussing the book in general on these sites:
National Archives (talk begins at c. 7 minutes in) (video)
Interview on the Tavis Smiley show (audio)
Interview with Daniel Kilbride on "New Books in History" (audio)
Interview with Scott Porch of Kirkus Reviews (text)
Baptist, who teaches history at Cornell University, is a member of the school's History of Capitalism Initiative.

Also of interest are two related essays, not occasioned by the Economist controversy:
Jim Oakes, "Genovese, Slavery, and Capitalism," Politics/Letters
Seth Rockman, "The Future of Civil War Studies: Slavery and Capitalism," Journal of the Civil War Era (as well as Tom Cutterham's commentary on The Junto and Rockman's reply)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Conference Program: Business History at the Urban History Association Meeting

The Business History Conference, through the work of its Liaison Committee, is sponsoring two sessions at the upcoming meeting of the Urban History Association (UHA), to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on October 9-12, 2014. Writing for the committee, Alexia Yates stated, “Many of our members are also affiliated with the UHA, and we enjoy several areas of shared research interest. We hope this collaboration helps further engage members of both associations.”  The two panels are:

Friday, October 10th, 8:30-10a.m.
Session 8: Food, Consumption, and Urban Placemaking
Andrew Case, Michigan State University
“Consuming the Countryside: The Rodale Press and the Tastes of Pennsylvania Dutch Country”
Meredith TenHoor, Pratt Institute
“Food and Gentrification in New York and Paris, circa 1970”
Stephen Nepa, Temple University
“Solving the ‘Rapid Transit Luncheon Problem’: The Horn and Hardart Company and the Automation of Dining Out in Philadelphia”
Dylan Gottlieb, Princeton University
“'Dirty, Authentic . . . Delicious': Yelp, Mexican Restaurants, and the Rise of Philadelphia’s Creative Class”
Chair and Commentator: Domenic Vitiello, University of Pennsylvania
Sunday, October 12, 8:30-10a.m.
Session 92: New Perspectives on Business and the City
Daniel Amsterdam, Georgia Institute of Technology
“The Business of Civic Welfare: Using Cities to Reconsider Corporate Social Politics in the Early Twentieth Century”
Brent Cebul, University of Virginia
“'Our responsibility to the city and the people of Cleveland': Business Producerism and Municipal Default in 1970s Cleveland, Ohio”
Lily Geismer, Claremont McKenna College
“'The Perfect Model for the 1990s': Chicago’s Shorebank Corporation, Microfinancing and Liberal Market-Oriented Solutions to Urban Inequality Following the War on Poverty”
Chair and Commentator: Julia Ott, The New School for Social Research
The full program is available here, and more information about the conference can be found on the UHA meeting website.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Upcoming Conference: “Institutions, Credit, and the State”

Hong Kong skyline
The History Project, in cooperation with the History Department at Yale University and the Joint Center for History and Economics, will hold its third conference on October 17-18, 2014, at the MacMillan Center at Yale University. The topic is "Institutions, Credit, and the State." The program has not yet been published, but a list of participants and paper abstracts are available on the conference website. Questions may be addressed to Jennifer Nickerson, coordinator of the History Project, at
[Apologies for previously incorrect title!]
    Readers may also want to check on the next annual conference in this series, which will focus on "The History of Energy and the Environment" and will be held at Harvard University on October 22-23, 2015.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Yale Launches Depression-Era Photo Archives Tool

Ben Shahn, 1935, "resident of Smithland, Kentucky"
During the Great Depression, the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information (FSA-OWI) hired photographers to travel across America to document the toll taken by the economic collapse and the effect of government relief efforts. Between 1935 and 1945, well-known photographers such as Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans took part in this massive photography project. The resulting photographs, over 170,000, were catalogued and eventually housed in the Library of Congress. Several years ago, the LoC digitized the images, but the sheer volume has made searching through them difficult.
    Now the Yale University Public Humanities program, working with a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, has launched Photogrammar, a web-based platform that assists in organizing, searching, and visualizing the historic photographs. The Photogrammar platform allows one to search through the images by photographer and, via great interactive county-level maps, by place. Additional tools are under development.
    The Photogrammar project was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The project's principal investigator is American Studies professor Laura Wexler, director of the Photographic Memory Workshop; co-directors are Lauren Tilton and Taylor Arnold.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

CFP: Asian Association of World Historians

The Asian Association of World Historians (AAWH) invites proposals for panels and papers at its Third Congress to be held May 29-31, 2015, at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. The theme of the Congress is “Migration in Global History: Peoples, Plants, Plagues, and Ports.” The call for papers states:
Understood in the broadest sense, “migration” brings into focus questions about the movement of peoples, businesses, capital, ideas, goods, diseases, technologies, diverse forms of knowledge, artistic styles, ecologies, as well as medical and scientific discoveries and practices across global borders. . . . While the Congress committee welcomes panels and papers that address [the theme], it will also consider proposals related to other topics on the history of the Asia-Pacific from global and world perspectives, including (but not limited to) the interdisciplinary history of science, technology, medicine, business, and the environment.
Proposals must be submitted by 1 October 1, 2014. For more details, please see the full call for papers. Questions may be directed to the 2015 AAWH Congress Committee at