Monday, November 30, 2015

Conference: “Economic History and Economic Policy”

On December 14-15, 2015, the Bank of France will host a conference emphasizing the contribution of economic history to policy making. The meeting will take place at the Banque of France conference center, 31 rue Croix des Petits Champs, Paris. According to the organizers,
The various works that will be presented illustrate how long-time series inform decision making. They also show how historical models and case studies help to improve our thinking about topical policy issues such as monetary policy in a world of high public debt, the impact of financial regulation on financial markets, and the policies stimulating innovation or favoring financial stability.
The conference is organized by the Banque de France, Sciences Po, and the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and the Universities of Oxford, of Carlos III Madrid, of Humboldt zu Berlin, and the London School of Economics, and the Graduate Institute Geneva as member institutions of the European network Macrohist.
    The program is available here. For information and registration, please email

Friday, November 27, 2015

WEHC: First Call for Proposals Open

The next gathering of the World Economic History Congress (WEHC) will convene July 29 – August 3, 2018 in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Executive Committee of the IEHA welcomes proposals from all members of the international economic history community, whatever their institutional affiliation or status, as well as from scholars in related disciplines. The conveners state:
We invite you to join us in Boston to consider the many ‘Waves of Globalization’ that have given rise to the varied and multi-directional connections that characterize the economic and social world we know today. While seeking proposals for sessions that explore facets of this broad theme, we also welcome submissions on the economic and social histories of all places and periods, on the exploration of varied sources and methods, and on the theory and the uses of economic history itself. Furthermore, we invite members to employ and analyze diverse strategies for representing the past.
    The IEHA is a capacious organization, and we hope that our program will reflect this strength. To this end, we will consider any submission that advances the study, teaching, and public presentation of economic history in all of its facets. Given the diversity of our affiliated membership we encourage panel proposals that highlight scholarship emerging from economic history, business history, demographic history, environmental history, global and world history, social history, rural and urban history, gender studies, material culture, methodological approaches to historical research, history of economics and economic thought, and other related fields. . . . We also anticipate discussion of the ways that historical practice is changing as a result of the ongoing digital revolution. We are interested in what it means to practice economic history in the digital age, and what new technologies imply for how we do research, how we present our findings, and how we interact with a variety of current and potential audiences.
Organizers will be given wide discretion to shape the format of sessions to promote interest and efficiency as appropriate for the topic, the methodologies employed, and the participants invited. The format of the scientific program of the Boston Congress will be organized on the same principles as past world congresses. The 5-day meeting will have approximately 100 contributed sessions, with each day divided into four time blocks of 90 minutes each (two before lunch and two after lunch). As in the past, it will be possible combine morning and afternoon sessions into larger coherent units. The first call for papers closes on May 30, 2016.

Please see the call for proposals on the WEHC website for additional information.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Douglass C. North, 1920-2015

Douglass C. North, co-recipient (with Robert Fogel) of the 1993 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and the Spencer T. Olin Professor Emeritus in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, died Monday, November 23, 2015, at his summer home in Benzonia, Michigan. He was 95.
     North examined the formation of political and economic institutions and the impact of those institutions on the performance of economies through time. In the words of his Nobel citation, he was honored “for having renewed research in economic history by applying economic theory and quantitative methods in order to explain economic and institutional change.”
      North received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley; before moving to Washington University in 1983, he taught for many years at the University of Washington. His major works include The Economic Growth of the United States, 1790-1860 (1961), Institutional Change and American Economic Growth (with Lance Davis) (1971), Structure and Change in Economic History (1981), and Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance (1990).
      A number of obituaries and appreciations have already appeared: that from Washington University is here (with a video interview at the end); the New York Times story is here; the Washington Post obituary is here; Forbes has an essay here; student Michael Sykuta wrote about him here; and Peter Klein of the "Organizations and Markets" blog has a comment here. We'll update the list as more commentary becomes available.
    More obituaries and comment:
Library of Economics and Liberty
Henry Farrell, at Crooked Timber
John Wallis at Vox
Kevin Bryan at Vox
The Economist
Financial Times
University of Washington, Department of Economics
John Nye, at "Organizations and Markets"
Hoover Institution, "Remembering Douglass North"
And Tyler Cowen over at "Marginal Revolution" is also keeping a list.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Program Available: “Making Markets: Histories of Commodity Trading and Grading”

On November 20, the conference "Making Markets: Histories of Commodity Trading and Grading" took place under the auspices of the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, and Society at the University of California at Berkeley. According to the organizers, Caitlin Rosenthal of Berkeley and Espen Storli of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology,
Since 1750, social, political, and technological conditions have dramatically transformed the trading of commodity goods. Through advances in measurement and communication, previously differentiated products have been transformed into fungible commodities that can be traded on paper and at great distances. These products and the markets where they are exchanged have become terrain for speculation, risk management, and even political negotiation. . . . We believe that these practices of measurement and exchange are at the heart of the process of commoditization: it is the mathematics and measurement of grading and trading that turns specialty goods into interchangeable commodities. . . . Bringing together scholars working on an array of different goods will help us to explore the topics of grading and trading in international perspective, illuminating the comparative ways market norms and practices have shaped both local economies and global politics.
The program from this one-day conference is posted on the meeting website, along with links to abstracts of the individual papers.

Friday, November 20, 2015

CFP: “Cold War Business History”

The Institute for Economic and Business History Research (EHFF) at the Stockholm School of Economics invites proposals for papers to be presented at a conference/symposium on Cold War Business History, to be held in Stockholm, Sweden, on March 11, 2016. The symposium will focus on the participation of businesses (outside the defense industry) in the defense effort (or in preparedness or contingency planning) during the Cold War. This includes, but is not limited to, war production (including preparations for war production), contingency storage of raw materials and foodstuffs, planning for evacuation or relocation, and participation in government planning and information services.
    Proposals dealing with any of these aspects or related fields, regardless of country, are welcome. Proposals should include a one-page CV and an abstract not exceeding 250 words that addresses the research plan and the original contribution to historical knowledge the final product is expected to make.  The proposal deadline is November 30, 2015. Please submit all proposals by e-mail to Final versions of accepted papers will be due by February 15, 2016.
    More information will be posted on the EHFF website as it becomes available.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

CFP: EHA 2016

The 2016 annual meeting of the Economic History Association will be held in Boulder, Colorado, on September 16-18; the theme is “Economic History and Economic Development.” According to the call for papers,
The Program Committee welcomes submissions on all subjects in economic history, though some preference will be given to papers that specifically fit the theme. Papers should be submitted individually, but authors may suggest to the Committee that three particular papers fit well together in a panel. Papers should in all cases be works in progress rather than accepted or published work. Submitters should let the program committee know at the time of application if the paper they are proposing has already been submitted for publication. Individuals who presented or co-authored a paper given at the 2015 meeting are not eligible for inclusion in the 2016 program.
Proposals must be submitted online; the deadline is January 31, 2016. More information about the meeting theme, graduate student subsidies, and poster and dissertation sessions may be found in the complete call for papers.

Monday, November 16, 2015

CFP: Joint Meeting of the ABH and GUG 2016

On May 27-28, 2016, the Association of Business Historians (ABH) and the German Business History Society (GUG) will hold a joint conference at the Humboldt University Berlin, Germany. The theme will be "Creativity and Entrepreneurship in the Global Economy." The program committee consists of: Hartmut Berghoff (GHI Washington), Lucy Newton (Henley Business School), Alexaner Nützenadel (Humboldt-University), Teresa da Silva Lopes (University of York), and Andrea Schneider (GUG).
    The organizers welcome papers on any topic related to business history, even where it does not focus on the conference theme, and on any time period or country. Proposals are welcomed for either individual papers or entire sessions (each of normally one-and-a-half hours). Each paper proposal should include a one-page abstract, a list of 3 to 5 keywords, and a one-page CV. Proposals for sessions should also include a cover letter containing a title and a one-paragraph session description. A fuller description of the meeting theme and possible topics are available in the detailed call for papers.
      The deadline for submissions, which must be made through the on-line platform, is December 15, 2015.
       Questions should be directed to Teresa Lopes or Andrea Schneider.

Friday, November 13, 2015

CFP: “The Changing Political and Social Legitimacy of International Business”

"From Public Interest to Private Profit: The Changing Political and Social Legitimacy of International Business" will be held in Toronto, Ontario, on May 5-6, 2016. Funded by a grant from the Leverhulme Trust in the UK, and sponsored by the Centre for the Political Economies of International Commerce (PEIC) at the University of Kent, UK (directed by William Pettigrew), and the Business History Group at the Rotman School of Business, this two-day conference "will bring historians, business historians, management scholars, and business practitioners together to discuss . . . questions within a long time frame and within a cross-disciplinary framework."
     The event will include a keynote lecture, an opening panel of business practitioners in which the present-day challenges facing international corporations are discussed. The first day of the conference will focus on the period 1600-1850; the second day will focus on 1850 to the present day. The conference will end with a summary panel session in which business practitioners reflect on the place of present-day corporations in their five-century history.
    The full conference announcement, with a more detailed discussion of topics and aims, may be found here. Inquiries and proposals should be addressed to organizer Christopher Kobrak, Wilson/Currie Chair of Canadian Business and Financial History at the Rotman School of Management.

Hat tip to The Past Speaks.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

CFP: Business History Special Issue: “Historical Research on Institutional Change”

The journal Business History has issued a call for papers for a special volume on "Historical Research on Institutional Change." Guest editors will be Stephanie Decker, Lars Engwall, Michael Rowlinson, and Behlül Üsdiken. The editors write,
Institutional change is by its very definition a process that unfolds over long time periods with fundamentally unpredictable outcomes that can only be properly evaluated with hindsight. Because institutional change is a fundamental feature in historical research, many historians do not necessarily define or reflect on this as a research phenomenon in its own right. On the other hand many research debates in organization studies have remained curiously a-historical when developing the antecedents, outcomes and mediating factors for processes of institutionalization, institutional maintenance, and deinstitutionalization. . . . Nevertheless, between these two extremes there are many processes of institutional change in organizations that develop over time periods that are too long to research with the standard methods of qualitative social science such as interviews or participant observations. Here some historical approaches based on archival research may create more interesting research designs. . . . Historical theory also has different insights to offer organization studies. . . . It is in these areas that management and organizational history could contribute by investigating phenomena from a more long-term perspective.
For more details on possible topics and the submission process, please see the call for papers on the Business History website. The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2016.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Conference Announcement: EABH 25th Anniversary Events

The European Association for Banking and Financial History (EABH) is celebrating its 25th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, the organization will meet on January 28-29, 2016, at the Historical Archives of the European Union in Florence, Italy, for a two-part conference.
    The first day will feature a workshop whose aim is to "lay the groundwork for a project on the oral history of European Finance. . . . [and] to kick of a larger discussion on European oral history and about exemplary ways of  integrating oral history to financial archivists practice." The program for this section is available here.
    On the second day, in a section called "Eurovision? The Initial Period of Europe’s Monetary Union," the meeting will take the form of a 'Conversation' with "those financiers, politicians, lawyers, archivists and academics that were involved in relevant decisions concerning the financial sector 25 years ago -- and those today." This program is posted here.
    Registration information is available on the meeting website (click on the "programme" icon for each event). Note that there is a separate registration for each day of the meeting. Questions may be directed to