Friday, June 23, 2017

Conference: “Capitalism and the Senses”

The Business History Initiative at Harvard Business School is hosting a one-day workshop on June 29, 2017: “Capitalism and the Senses.”  This workshop will bring together scholars from various disciplines, including marketing, history, and anthropology, to explore how businesses developed marketing strategies to appeal to consumers’ senses from the nineteenth century to today. As the organizer, Ai Hisano, writes,
Attention to sensory appeals became a crucial part of business strategies in the modern consumer-oriented economy. The workshop will encourage participants to explore such themes as the creation of sensory experience in modern capitalist society from cross-cultural perspectives, the impact of technological development on sensory perception, the commercialization of the senses, and the construction of knowledge about the senses. 
The program will feature prominent scholars in the studies of the senses, the history of science, and marketing, including David Howes, Daniel Horowitz, Steven Shapin, Regina Blaszczyk, David Suisman, and Gerald Zaltman.
    For additional information, please consult the workshop website. The event is open to the public; those wishing to attend should RSVP to Ai Hisano (

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Job: Lecturer in Economic & Social History, Glasgow

The School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow has an opening for a full-time permanent lecturer in economic and social history. The successful applicant will be required
to conduct high-quality research and knowledge exchange activities in the field of Economic & Social History with the capacity to support the Subject Area’s teaching commitments and research specialisms in post-1750 business history; make a substantial contribution to learning and teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels; and undertake management and administrative duties as directed by the Head of School and/or Head of Subject.
Essential qualifications include a Ph.D. in economic and social history or equivalent research profile in the subject area; up-to-date knowledge of research within the field of economic and social history, and in particular 19th- and 20th-century business history and its international dimensions; development of an international research profile in the field of economic and social history.
    A much fuller description of the desired duties can be found on the University of Glasgow job posting site, with qualifications listed here.
    The deadline for applications, which may be made online, is July 9, 2017.

Monday, June 19, 2017

More Business Historians in the Media

More business historian appearances in the media recently:
  • Benjamin Waterhouse discusses the changing relationships among small business, larger business, and government on Barry Moltz's podcast, "Business Insanity Talk Radio."
  • Christy Ford Chapin discusses her book, Ensuring America's Health, with Russ Roberts at EconTalk. Chapin also has an essay on the blog Dissent, "America's Health Care System Is Even More Broken than You Think." And--just out today--an op-ed in the New York Times on "How Did Health Care Get to be Such a Mess?"
  • Philip Gura discusses "How the Panic of 1837 predicted the Great Recession" on the Marketplace podcast with David Brancaccio.
  • Sharon Ann Murphy discusses her book, Other People's Money, on the Page 99 Test.
  • Richard John writes about the different ways that historians have understood the political role of the business community, as evidenced in the book he co-edited with Kim Phillips-Fein, Capital Gains, on the Penn Press blog.
  • And Kim Phillips-Fein discusses her own recent book, Fear City, on the "Who Makes Cents?" podcast.
  • Discussions with Ed Balleisen on his recent book Fraud have appeared in several places recently: he has published a piece at Zocalo Public Square, “Why Suckering Americans Is a Booming Business"; a New York Times Magazine article on contemporary fraud refers to the book and quotes Balleisen; and he can be seen talking about the book on C-Span here.
  • In The Nation online, Noam Maggor's Brahmin Capitalism is the subject of a lengthy review essay by Eric Foner.
  • Sven Beckert and his book Empire of Cotton are the subjects of an interview (in English) for the journal Recherche di Storia Politica.
  • Eric Hilt has published an extended review essay in the Journal of Economic History, "Economic History, Historical Analysis, and the 'New History of Capitalism'," that covers ten recent books on the theme; the essay is ungated until June 30.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Reminder: Final WEHC 2018 Call for Sessions Deadline Approaching

The next World Economic History Congress (WEHC) will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, on July 29-August 3, 2018; the theme will be "Waves of Globalization." Please note that the deadline for the second round of session proposals is June 30, 2017. Organizers are strongly encouraged to consult the list of accepted sessions, with the goal of adding to the breadth of the Congress program, as well as to find models of successful proposals.
    Dissertation Prize submissions are not due until December 1, 2017; the Graduate Poster proposal deadline is January 31, 2018.
     Those wishing to propose papers to specific accepted panels should contact the organizers of those sessions; the list of accepted sessions can be found here.
    Many more details about WEHC 2018 are available on the congress website. Questions or concerns may be directed to Jeremy Land at Social media users can follow WEHC2018 on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Recent Reviews of Interest

A selection of recent (ungated) reviews of books in business and economic history:
Christopher N. Blaker reviews Mark R. Wilson, Destructive Creation: American Business and the Winning of World War II, for H-War. Also reviewed by Thomas K. Duncan for EH.Net.

Deborah Cohen reviews Frank Trentmann, Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, from the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First, for the New York Review of Books.

Robert Gioielli reviews Tracy Neumann, Remaking the Rust Belt: The Postindustrial Transformation of North America, for H-Pennsylvania.

Dylan Schleicher reviews Benjamin C. Waterhouse, The Land of Enterprise: A Business History of the United States, for 800ceoread.

Melissa Teixeira reviews William Summerhill, Inglorious Revolution: Political Institutions, Sovereign Debt, and Financial Underdevelopment in Imperial Brazil, for H-Latam.

David O. Whitten reviews Noam Maggor, Brahmin Capitalism: Frontiers of Wealth and Populism in America’s First Gilded Age, for EH.Net.

Gavin Wright reviews Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman, eds., Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development, for EH.Net.

Melissa Thomasson reviews Christy Ford Chapin, Ensuring America’s Health: The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Care System, for EH.Net.

Aidan Beatty reviews Emily C. Nacol, An Age of Risk: Politics and Economy in Early Modern Britain, for Reviews in History.

Ernst Pijning reviews Wim Klooster, The Dutch Moment: War, Trade, and Settlement in the Seventeenth-Century Atlantic World, for H-Diplo.

Adrian Pearce reviews Adrian Finucane, The Temptations of Trade: Britain, Spain, and the Struggle for Empire, for H-Diplo.

John Bowes reviews David Andrew Nichols, Engines of Diplomacy: Indian Trading Factories and the Negotiation of American Empire, for H-AmIndian.

Lakshmi Subramaniam reviews Tonio Andrade and Xing Hang, eds., Sea Rovers, Silver, and Samurai: Maritime East Asia in Global History, 1550-1700, for H-Asia.

Rüdiger Graf reviews Meg Jacobs, Panic at the Pump: The Energy Crisis and the Transformation of American Politics in the 1970s, for H-Soz-u-Kult (in English).

Steven G. Noll reviews Bruce D. Epperson, Roads through the Everglades: The Building of the Ingraham Highway, the Tamiami Trail and Conners Highway, 1914-1931, for H-Environment.

Philipp Reick reviews Alexia M. Yates, Selling Paris: Property and Commercial Culture in the Fin-de-siècle Capital, for H-Urban.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Call for Contributors: History of Capitalism Month at “Process”

In connection with the May issue of The American Historian from the Organization of American Historians (OAH), the OAH blog "Process" has declared June 2017 to be "History of Capitalism Month." It has invited contributions on topics such as the history of labor, taxation, infrastructure, and consumption, among other topics. Anyone interested in contributing a post on American history and capitalism for June should read the "About" section of the blog and then contact the editors at
      The four relevant essays on the history of consumption in the May American Historian are:  
  • Emily Remus explains how women shopping in downtown spaces in the late 19th and early 20th centuries challenged traditional male territories;
  • Joshua Clark Davis demonstrates that during the 1960s and 1970s, some critics of consumer culture went into business for themselves and opened businesses dedicated to altruistic causes;
  • Lawrence B. Glickman details the long history of consumer boycotts in the United States;
  • Kathleen Hilliard examines consumption among slaves in the South
 They are available only to OAH members, though many readers many have access through institutional memberships. UPDATE: OAH is making the Hilliard article on slave consumption freely available.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Conference: Canadian Business History Association

The Canadian Business History Association/Association canadienne pour l'histoire des affaires (CBHA/ACHA) will hold its next annual conference on September 11-12, 2017, at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. The preliminary program for the meeting, whose theme is "150 Years of Canadian Business History," presented in conjunction with Canada’s Sesquicentennial birthday celebrations, is now available on the CBHA/ACHA website. According to the organizers, the conference "is multi-disciplinary and open to participation by academics, business leaders, professional archivists and the public. The conference will present a range of session topics on business sectors that have played an important role in shaping the Canadian economy since Confederation." Online registration is now open as well.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Call for Applications: Lamb Postdoctoral Fellow with Rethinking Regulation at KIE

The Rethinking Regulation Program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics (RR@KIE) at Duke University is seeking a Postdoctoral Fellow for a one-year term (with a possible renewal for a second year, upon mutual agreement of all parties and if funding is available).

RR@KIE is an interdisciplinary research, teaching, and outreach network exploring the broad terrain of regulatory governance. It fosters research, education, and policy engagement on the evolution, design, deliberation and performance of regulatory systems, across a wide array of policy areas. Linking diverse disciplinary approaches across the Duke campus and beyond, RR@KIE marshals multiple perspectives and methodologies to understand complex problems, confront ethical tradeoffs, and envision solutions.

The Postdoctoral Fellow will support the Rethinking Regulation Program in the following ways:
  • Work with faculty director and executive committee to facilitate collaborative research among faculty and students in the Rethinking Regulation program by, e.g., organizing seminars, workshops, symposia, and other research and outreach activities.
  • Work with faculty director and executive committee to identify priority research areas and seek external funding for these research areas. 
  • Assist the faculty in hosting visiting speakers from academia and policy. 
  • Assist with policy outreach by writing, editing, and/or reviewing policy briefs, blog posts, webpages, and similar publications. 
  • Work with graduate, professional and undergraduate students involved in Rethinking Regulation to help them organize activities and increase membership. 
  • Assist with Bass Connections course projects linked with Rethinking Regulation, such as on adaptive governance of emerging technologies, and decision making about complex risks. 
  • Conduct self-directed research on regulatory policy topics. Interest in ethical as well as legal, economic, political, cultural, and other aspects of regulation is highly desirable. Interest and ability to collaborate with others is highly desirable. 
The candidate must have completed a graduate or professional degree, such as PhD, ScD, MD, JD, SJD, MBA, MPP, MEM, or similar. For complete information, please consult the Lamb Postdoctoral Fellow call on the RR@KIE site.

To apply, please send a letter of interest and curriculum vita to

Monday, June 5, 2017

Program Available: SHEAR 2017

The next annual meeting of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) will be held on July 20-23, 2017, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The program is now available online. Sessions of particular interest include:
Session 15: "Transnational Speculation and State Formation in Revolutionary America"
Session 21: "Women, Gender, and Risk in the Development of Early American Capitalism"
Session 26: "Anxieties in Print: Commercial Uncertainty and Trust in the Revolutionary and Antebellum U.S."
Session 29: "Minimizing Risk: Life Insurance, Mutual Aid Associations, and Social Networks in Antebellum America"
Session 42: "Gender Politics of the Family Business"
    More information, including a link to online registration, can be found on the SHEAR conference website; Twitter users can follow at #SHEAR17. Note that on-site registration will include $30 late fee.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Preliminary Program: EBHA 2017

The next annual congress of the European Business History Association (EBHA) will be held in Vienna, Austria, on August 24-26, 2017, hosted by the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU). The preliminary program for the meeting, whose theme is "Transformation in Business and Society: An Historical Approach," is now available online.
    More details, including information about registration, lodging, and travel, can be found on the congress website. Note that the early bird registration discount ends on June 15.