Monday, June 28, 2010

University of Ottawa to Create Chair in Business History

The Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa has received an anonymous gift for the purpose of creating the Father Edgar Thivierge Chair in Business History. Funded by a $3.5 million donation, the chair will be filled for the 2011-2012 academic year. According to the School's website,
The first holder of the Chair will be appointed in the upcoming months and will tap into his or her expertise and interests in business history to help design and deliver a new curriculum through which students can add a historical context to their exploration of business and, in the process, better understand the world they will face as business leaders.

The Chair will also develop a research program in Canadian business history as it applies to management in the private, public and non-profit sectors, thus contributing to the progress of management expertise and leadership in Canada. Using a collaborative approach with other teachers, thinkers and researchers, the Chair aims to broaden the body of knowledge in management science by shedding light on the many facets of business history, including insights into family businesses, models of governance, financial systems, corporate structures, and the social, political and economic factors that shape our country. 
Father Thivierge taught at the University of Ottawa from 1927 to 1966.  Additional information can be found in the Ottawa Citizen and the Ottawa Business Journal.

Tip of the hat to Andrew Smith's blog.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"History Now" Focuses on "Shaping the American Economy"

Bank note from the Bank of the
United States, Dec. 1840 (GLC01994.02)
The June issue of History Now, the web-based journal published by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, focuses on "The Shaping of the American Economy." The contents of the issue, which include a slide show, lesson plans, bibliography, and links to additional digital sources, feature essays by several business and economic historians.  As outlined by Carol Berkin, the journal's editor:
Our overview essay, “Getting Ready to Lead a World Economy: Enterprise in Nineteenth Century America,” is written by Joyce Appleby. In it she traces the rise of liberal capitalism and the spirit of enterprise that catapulted the United States into a leadership role in the modern world. Next, Richard Sylla unlocks the mysteries of the banking system in his essay “The U.S. Banking System: Origins, Development and Regulation,” explaining the functions banks perform and how their role in our economy has expanded and undergone regulation over past centuries. In “The Rise of an American Institution: The Stock Market,” Brian Murphy traces the evolution of a convenient ad hoc trading arrangement into one of the most influential institutions in American society. T.J. Stiles then confronts the longstanding argument over the larger than life entrepreneurs of the nineteenth century in his essay “Robber Barons or Captains of Industry?” And, finally, Professor Roger E. A. Farmer sheds light on the intersection of government and the economy in his essay “Economic Policy Through the Lens of History.”

Several CFPs from the JHRM

The new Journal of Historical Research in Marketing has put out several calls for papers for special issues.
"The Evolution of Key Marketing Concepts": Guest editor: Ben Wooliscroft; due date for submissions: 1 July 2011

"Marketing, Public Policy, and History: Looking Backward and Ahead": Guest editors: Andrew Pressey, Maria Piacentini, Mark Tadajewsky, and Finola Kerrigan; due date for submissions: 1 December 2012

"Marketing Sport through the Ages": Guest editors: J. Andrew Ross and Stephen Hardy; due date for submissions: 30 January 2012
Please follow the links for full information about these calls.

Monday, June 21, 2010

New and Forthcoming Books in Paperback

A brief sampling of business and economic history books recently or soon to be out in paperback:
Jeremy Atack and Larry Neal, eds., The Origins and Development of Financial Markets and Institutions from the Seventeenth Century to the Present (Cambridge University Press [UK], July 2010);

Warren Belasco and Roger Horowitz, eds., Food Chains: From Farmyard to Shopping Cart (University of Pennsylvania Press, Aug. 2010);

Robert Friedel and Paul Israel, Edison's Electric Light: The Art of Invention (Johns Hopkins University Press, July 2010);

Ann Smart Martin, Buying into the World of Goods: Early Consumers in Backcountry Virginia (Johns Hopkins University Press, Aug. 2010);

Thomas K. McCraw, Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction (Harvard University Press, March 2010);

Christopher D. McKenna, The World's Newest Profession: Management Consulting in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge University Press, Feb. 2010);

Bethany Moreton, To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise (Harvard University Press, Aug. 2010);

Mark H. Rose, Bruce E. Seely, and Paul F. Barrett, The Best Transportation System in the World: Railroads, Trucks, Airlines, and American Public Policy in the Twentieth Century (University of Pennsylvania Press, May 2010);

Mark R. Wilson, The Business of Civil War: Military Mobilization and the State, 1861-1865 (Johns Hopkins University Press, Sept. 2010).

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Stephen Mihm on the New Hundred-Dollar Bill

In the April 23 Wall Street Journal's Saturday Essay, "Outfoxing the Counterfeiters," Stephen Mihm of the University of Georgia discusses the U.S. government's attempts, dating back to colonial times, to foil currency forgery. "If history is any guide," writes Mihm, who is the author of A Nation of Counterfeiters, the latest attempt to forestall counterfeiters "won't be the last. Paper money in this country has followed a familiar trajectory: new designs, new dollars and, eventually, new counterfeits."   Discussing the period of the American Revolution, Mihm writes:
It's perhaps appropriate that Benjamin Franklin appears on the most valuable denomination of dollar in circulation. He designed the country's first money: the Continental dollars issued during the American Revolution to pay the costs of the war. . . . In 1776, the British occupied New York City and the counterfeiters who had already set up shop began operating under the supervision of the imperial authorities, churning out massive quantities of notes that visitors could buy for pennies and then pawn off on unsuspecting revolutionaries. . . . The quality of the British counterfeits undercut the credibility of the dollar, but the real blame for the dollar's decline lay with the revolutionaries, who issued vast quantities of Continentals to pay the costs of the war. Backed by nothing more than a shaky faith in the government, the notes depreciated, eventually becoming nearly worthless. The experience left Americans with serious misgivings about paper currency, both counterfeit and real.
The new bill will go into circulation in February 2011.

 Tip of the hat to the Legal History Blog.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Richard John Discusses "Network Nation" on C-Span

Richard R. John, author of Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications—recently  published by Harvard University Press (May 2010)—was interviewed about his book for C-Span at the April OAH meeting. John, who is a professor in the Journalism School at Columbia University, is the current president of the Business History Conference.
A brief excerpt:
We sometimes tell the history of telegraph and telephone focusing on technology and economics; and that's really not what happened.  In fact the telegraph and telephone both developed in a political economy in which government regulation was really essential to the way the business strategies of the key players evolved. . . . Regulation really mattered in American history.
John is the author or editor of several other books, most notably Spreading the News: The American Postal System from Franklin to Morse.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Business History on You Tube

Although You Tube is perhaps not the first place that comes to mind when one searches for the work of business and economic historians on-line, many institutions in fact use the site to upload scholarly talks and discussions.  A quick search, for example, found the following:
Richard Sylla, "The 1929 Crash: The Great Myth" (CNN Money)
Christopher Kobrak, "Financial Crisis: A History in 5 Crises" (ESCP Europe)
Leslie Berlin, "Robert Noyce: The Man behind the Microchip" (Google)
Barry Eichengreen, "The Financial Crisis" (1 0f 4)
Niall Ferguson, "Global Economic Growth Shifting East" (1 of 3) (Charlie Rose)
Geoffrey Jones, on "Beauty Imagined" (Centre for Business History, Stockholm)
Roger Owen and Robert Tignor, "Global History, Local History: Egypt in Time and Place" (American University, Cairo)
Richard Tedlow, "IBM 360 Case," Computer Museum
David Kennedy, "Lessons from FDR's New Deal" (UCTV)
AHA 2009 "Subprime Crisis Panel": Stephen Mihm (HNN)
OAH 2009, "New Work on the New Deal," Louis Hyman (HNN)
Naomi Lamoreaux, "The Economic Performance of Civilizations" (USC)
Many academic talks and interviews have been captured on video and uploaded to the Web in addition to those on You Tube.  Some examples of those in a later post.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

CFP: Power and the History of Capitalism

The History Department of Lang College and the New School for Social Research and the Culture of the Market Network of the University of Manchester are pleased to announce a conference on Power and the History of Capitalism, to be held April 15-16, 2011, at the New School in New York City. Program chairs are Stephen Mihm, Jeff Sklansky, and Brook Thomas.

This conference seeks to sharpen the long-term historical perspective on relations of power within modern capitalism, with a special emphasis on United States history from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century. The organizers ask how capitalism and its periodic crises have revised political rights and responsibilities, redistributed wealth, and reconfigured political practices and institutions. Conversely, they aim to analyze how power relations—whether organized by state policy and laws, or structured by social norms and institutions, or embedded within racial, gender and class relations—have shaped economic outcomes. The ongoing crises of contemporary capitalism—as well as the heightened emphasis on questions of power within the social sciences and humanities—invest these questions with new urgency.

Papers are solicited that will examine the mutual constitution of political and economic systems in the United States. For the organizers' list of possible themes and topics please see the full call for papers.

Proposals for papers must include a title, maximum 250-word summary of the proposed paper, and a one-page CV including author’s name, address, telephone, email, and institutional affiliation. Proposals for panels are welcome. Sessions may include either three 20-minute papers or four 15-minute papers.

All proposals should be sent to no later than October 1, 2010.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Research Papers Available at ERIM

 Papers from the business history seminars arranged by the Business History Group at the Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM),  coordinated by Ben Wubs and Abe de Jong, are available on-line. Recent speakers and topics include:
Kolleen Guy, "Eating Landscape: Marketing Agricultural Products ... in  the Twentieth Century"
Jonathan Zeitlin, "Inter-Firm Relations in Global Manufacturing"
Larry Neal, "Reflections from the Mirror of Folly"
Kees Boersma, "Writing History for the Business Man"
Jeffrey Fear, "Transferring and Transforming Management Knowledge"
Abe de Jong, "Workshop on European Business Models"
Christopher Kobrak, "From International to Transnational Finance"
The full list of business history papers and full texts are available on the ERIM website, as are a complete list and full text of ERIM research event papers.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

CFP: Disasters in History

"Disasters! A Conference on Disasters in History" will take place on April 9, 2011, at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware. The University of Delaware-Hagley Fellows Program invites scholars to join in a conversation about how disasters have shaped societies, cultures, and environments since 1700. What makes a disaster a disaster? Who decides? How have they been interpreted? What are the consequences of disasters? What can historians gain by studying disasters? Proposals for papers that explore how disasters can inform the histories of business, technology, consumption, the environment, work, and everyday life are particularly encouraged. Proposals by both graduate students and established scholars are welcome. Financial assistance for travel will be provided to all conference presenters.
Please email a 300-word abstract and a one-page CV to the Hagley Fellows at by December 31, 2010.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer/Fall Conference Programs Available

Several major scholarly organizations have posted the programs for their upcoming conferences:
Association of Business Historians (University of York, 16-17 July), "Global Business and Global Networks"
Centre for the History of Retail and Distribution/Pasold Research Fund (Wolverhampton, 8-9 September), "Distribution Networks for Textiles and Dress, c. 1700-1945"
Economic History Association (Evanston, Ill., 24-26 September), "Economic and Historical Perspectives on Places, Periods, and Institutions"
European Business History Association (University of Glasgow, 26-28 August), "Business History beyond the Firm"
And for those who want to check out the paper topics, here are links to the programs of some completed 2010 conferences:
Economic & Business Historical Society (Braga, Portugal, 27-29 May)
Economic History Society (University of Durham, 26-28 March) (some papers are available on-line)
Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand (Victoria University of Wellington, 7-10 February), "Financial Crises: Historical Perspectives" (some papers are available on-line)
"Tariffs in History," Instituto Figueroa de Historia y Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Madrid, 13-14 May) (papers available on-line)