Monday, November 12, 2018

Edwin J. Perkins, 1939-2018

Edwin J. Perkins, professor emeritus at the University of Southern California (USC), died unexpectedly on October 20, 2018, at the age of 79. Ed was a fixture at BHC meetings until recently, serving as BHC president in 1994-1995 and as editor of Business and Economic History Online, 2010-2012. He was also for many years associate editor of the Pacific Historical Review.
    Perkins earned his B.A. from William & Mary in 1961, his MBA at the University of Virginia in 1963, and his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University in 1972 under the guidance of Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., and Louis Galambos. He joined the faculty at USC in 1973, retiring in 1997.
    His major publications include Financing Anglo-American Trade: The House of Brown, 1800-1880 (1975), The Economy of Colonial America (1980), American Public Finance and Financial Services, 1700-1815 (1997), and Wall Street to Main Street: Charles Merrill and Middle-Class Investors (1999).
     An obituary, prepared by Karen Mahar in conjunction with his other students, is available on the BHC website: http://thebhc.org/edwin-j-perkins-1939-2018.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Over the Counter, No. 44

A sampling from around the web:

The early Canadian history blog "Borealia" has produced a number of recent essays relating to land tenure in early Canada. First up was an essay by Allan Greer, "There Was No Seigneurial System"; this led to "Beyond the 'system': The enduring legacy of seigneurial property," by Benoît Grenier and Alain Laberge--which in turn produced a "Reply" from Greer. And finally, the blog offers a review of Greer's book, Property and Dispossession: Natives, Empires and Land in Early Modern North America (Cambridge University Press, 2018), on research for which his essay was based, by Gregory Kennedy.

Back Story Radio recently produced a two-part episode on the whaling industry in America, "Thar She Blows," part 1 and part 2. Written transcripts are available as well as audio.

"Quartz at Work" published an interview with Todd Bridgman, one of the authors of a recent article arguing for revisiting the HBS case method, in which he discusses the essay. Readers can also see a slide show about the article, which was published in the Academy of Management Learning and Education journal, on YouTube.

Several scholars have banded together to found the Long-Run Initiative, which aims "to demonstrate the practical value of historical expertise to contemporary decision makers and to create dialogue between academics, businesses and government." The directors are John Turner and Michael Aldous of Queens University Belfast and Laurence Mussio of Signal Influence Executive Research & Communications (SIERC).

The Baring Archive's collection of prospectuses has now been digitized. The collection documents over 300 transactions involving Barings and spans more than 100 years of the firm's history.

Stephen Campbell has published an essay on "A Vast Political Corporation: The Power of the Post Office in the Bank War" for the blog "We're History." The essay draws on his forthcoming book, The Bank War and the Partisan Press: Newspapers, Financial Institutions, and the Post Office (University Press of Kansas, January 2019).

Ben Schmidt's blog, "Creating Data: The Invention of Information in the American State, 1850-1950," has a recent post discussing Jeremy Atack's historical railroad dataset.

BBC Scotland News online has an interesting pictorial essay on "The Tea Tycoon Who Was 'the World's Best Loser."

"EdgeEffects," a podcast at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has posted "Tobacco’s World of Racial Capitalism: A Conversation with Nan Enstad." The interview, available as a podcast and also as an edited transcript, focuses on her new book, Cigarettes, Inc.: An Intimate History of Corporate Imperialism (University of Chicago Press, November 2018).

The SHGAPE blog features an essay by Jamie Pietruska on "The Weather Forecast Company and the Business of Prediction,"drawing on her research for Looking Forward: Prediction and Uncertainty in Modern America (University of Chicago Press, 2017)

The program for the annual Workshop sponsored by the Women's Committee of the Economic History Society, held earlier this month, remains available online; the topic is "Women and Financial Advice."

The Merle Curti Lectures at the University of Wisconsin this year will host Bethany Moreton and N. D. B. Connolly, who will explore the theme "Re-Imagining Capital's Worlds: From Colonialism to the Alt-Right."

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Program: “Making a Republic Imperial”

The Program in Early American Economy and Society (PEAES) will hold a conference in Philadelphia, Pa., on March 28-29, 2019, on "Making a Republic Imperial." According to the conference website:
Before the American Revolution, the colonies and the continent beyond them were spaces of contest, collaboration, and competition among European empires, Native American powers, and enslaved and free African Americans. The founding generation of the early republic added its own imperial ambitions to this mix, revealing competing visions for the new nation, intense debate in the new citizenry about whether and how quickly the republic should expand, what role it should play among international states, and what its character and purpose should be. . . . Yet . . . [b]y the 1840s, the United States had refined its tools for dispossessing Native peoples and asserted a political economy grounded in black enslavement. It had conquered an immense amount of territory and claimed the Pacific Ocean as its western boundary, while setting its imperial sights upon regions, peoples, and resources much further afield.
    This two-day conference will bring together scholars of imperialism in its multiple early North American forms and spaces. The program is now available online. The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required. For additional information, please consult the conference website.
    The conference is co-sponsored by the Program in Early American Economy and Society at the Library Company of Philadelphia, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Department of History at Princeton University, and Iona College’s Institute of Thomas Paine Studies.

Monday, November 5, 2018

CFP: Economic History Association 2019

The 2019 meeting of the Economic History Association (EHA) will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, on September13-15. The theme of the meeting will be "Markets and Governments in Economic History." According to the call for papers,
The interactions between markets and governments are central issues in the organization of economies. From the beginning of time, groups of people had to decide whether to let their members trade resources and the fruits of their efforts freely or whether to distribute them in alternative ways in which the group set up rules for use and distribution of resources and output. . . . The theme offers scholars a broad range of options for proposals. Papers on markets alone, governments alone, or other topics are also welcome.
The Program Committe welcomes submissions on all subjects in economic history, though some preference will be given to papers that fit the theme of the conference. 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. Individuals who presented or co-authored a paper presented at the 2018 meeting are not eligible for inclusion in the 2019 program. Paper proposals should include a 3-5 page proposal and a 150 –word abstract suitable for publication in the Journal of Economic History. Please note that at least one of the authors must be a member of EHA. Papers and session proposals should be submitted online here: http://eh.net/eha/call-for-papers-3/. The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2019.
    For more details about the meeting and details about opportunities for graduate students, please see the full call for papers.

Friday, November 2, 2018

HBS Workshop: “Seeking the Unconventional in Forging Histories of Capitalism”

The Business History Initiative at Harvard Business School announces a two-day workshop to take place on May 9-10, 2019, on the topic "Seeking the Unconventional in Forging Histories of Capitalism."  Accordng to the website, the workshop
brings together scholars in the fields of history, economics, and management to explore the unconventional as it relates to researching and writing about entrepreneurship and business. The goal is to critically assess frameworks and approaches that animate scholarship in business history, the history of capitalism, and the comparative study of markets and institutions both past and present. We envision three complementary areas of discussion, i.e. unconventional techniques, unconventional sources, and unconventional capitalisms.
The program has not yet been finalized; more information will be forthcoming on the workshop website.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Business Historians in the News, October Edition

Recent forays of business historians into the public discourse:
On the "Public Books" blog, Kim Phillips-Fein writes about philanthropy and inequality in "Philanthropists Will Not Save Us."

In the wake of the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union, Richard John was quoted in a Vox article; he is the author of a 2015 essay in the Journal of Policy History, "Projecting Power Overseas: U.S. Postal Policy and International Standard-Setting at the 1863 Paris Postal Conference."

For the Commission on Democracy and Technology, Heidi Tworek writes about "What the History of Radio Tells Us about Technology and Democracy."

Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor and Lisa G. Materson wrote an essay for the History News Network on "What Historians Could Teach Senators on the Judiciary Committee"; they focus on historians' work in finding the harder to hear voices of women in the archives.

For "On the Media," Per Hansen discusses his recent work on how business as depicted in the film industry both reflects and shapes our views about money. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Journal Special Issues of Interest

Two journals have recently published special issues of interest to business and economic historians.

Frontiers of Economics in China (Sept. 2018, volume 13, no. 3), has just released a special issue on Chinese Economic History, guest-edited by Debin Ma of the London School of Economics. The special issue has free online access at: http://journal.hep.com.cn/fec/EN/1673-3444/current.shtml. The seven articles discuss urban and rural economy, the monetary system, as well as the organization of financial institutions in pre-modern China. Acording to the editor, the articles reflect three distinctive features: "the emphasis on the primary importance of institutions and ideology, the employment of comparative (mostly with Europe) perspective, and the systematic application of quantitative analyses based on new archives and data."

The current issue of Entreprises et Histoire (volume 91, no. 2) focuses on "Emotions and Family Businesses." The introduction (in English, as are most of the articles), by Ludovic Cailluet, Fabian Bernhard, and Rania Labaki, is freely accessible online. On the topic of the special issue, they write: "in family businesses both the family and the business are affecting each other by their own emotional dynamics, creating a fertile soil for studies into emotions’ interaction with business decision."

Friday, October 26, 2018

Last Call: BHC 2019 Doctoral Colloquium

The BHC Doctoral Colloquium in Business History will be held once again in conjunction with the 2019 BHC annual meeting. This prestigious workshop, funded by Cambridge University Press, will take place in Cartagena, Colombia, on Wednesday March 13 and Thursday March 14. Typically limited to ten students, the Colloquium is open to doctoral candidates who are pursuing dissertation research within the broad field of business history, from any relevant discipline (e.g., from economic sociology, political science, cultural anthropology, or management, as well as history). Most participants are in year 3 or 4 or their degree program, though in some instances applicants at a later stage make a compelling case that their thesis research had evolved in ways that led them to see the advantages of an intensive engagement with business history.
      Topics (see link for past examples) may range from the early modern era to the present, and explore societies across the globe. Participants work intensively with a distinguished group of BHC-affiliated scholars (including the incoming BHC president), discussing dissertation proposals, relevant literatures and research strategies, and career trajectories. Please check the meeting website for the 2019 faculty participants.
      Applications are due by November 15, 2018 ,via email to amy.feistel@duke.edu and should include: a statement of interest; CV; preliminary or final dissertation prospectus (10-15 pages); and a letter of support from your dissertation supervisor (or prospective supervisor).
      All participants receive a stipend that partially defrays travel costs to the annual meeting. Questions about the Colloquium should be sent to its director, Duke Professor of History Edward Balleisen, eballeis@duke.edu.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Program Available: ESHSI Conference

The annual conference of the Economic and Social History Society of Ireland (ESHSI) will take place in Belfast on November 30-December 1, 2018, at Queen's University Belfast.  The preliminary program has now been posted. In addition to regular sessions, the Ken Connell Lecture will be presented by John Turner of Queen's University Belfast; his topic will be "Wildcat Bankers or Political Failure? The Irish Financial Pantomime, 1797-1826." For more details, please see the ESHSI website.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Deadline Approaching: PEAES Postdoctoral Fellowships

Program in Early American Economy and Society (PEAES) Postdoctoral Fellowships support research in the collections of the Library Company and other nearby institutions into the origins and development of the early American economy, broadly conceived, to roughly 1850. The fellowships provide scholars the opportunity to investigate the history of commerce, finance, technology, manufacturing, agriculture, internal improvements, economic policy making and other topics.
    Applicants may be citizens of any country, and they must hold a Ph.D. by September 1, 2019. The stipend is $40,000 for the academic year, or if the award is divided between two scholars, $20,000 per semester. Senior scholars are particularly encouraged to apply. All postdoctoral fellowships are tenable from September 1, 2019 through May 31, 2020, and fellows must be continuously in residence in the Philadelphia area for the duration of their fellowships.
    The deadline for receipt of applications is November 1, 2018, with a decision to be made by December 15. Make just one application; applicants will automatically be considered for all the fellowships for which they are eligible. To apply, go to https://librarycompany.org/neh-and-peaes-post-doctoral-fellowships-application to fill out an online coversheet and upload a single PDF containing a brief résumé, a 2-4 page description of proposed research, and a writing sample of no more than 25 pages. In addition, two confidential letters of recommendation should be submitted online in PDF format using the form provided on the application page.
     Candidates are strongly encouraged to inquire about the appropriateness of the proposed topic before applying. For more information about the PEAES award, email Cathy Matson at cmatson@udel.edu.