Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Local Business and Economic History Forums

As the new academic year begins, we offer a round-up of workshops, forums, and discussion groups in business and economic history; please check each website for more detailed information; some groups may  not have posted Fall 2010 information. In addition to their value for those able to participate directly, these groups often maintain mailing lists and sometimes make speakers' papers freely available.
Business History Seminar, HBS
Business History Unit Seminars, LSE
Business History @ Erasmus Seminars
Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society (Hagley) Research Seminars
Columbia University Seminar in Economic History
Harvard Economic History Workshop
History and Economics Seminar, Harvard University
Institute for Economic and Business History Research, Stockholm
Northwestern Workshop in Economic History
PEAES Fellows Colloquium, Library Company of Philadelphia
Penn Economic History Forum
Von Gremp Workshop in Economic and Entrepreneurial History, UCLA
Washington (D.C.) Area Economic History Seminar
Workshop on the Cultural History of Capitalism, University of Georgia
Workshop on the Political Economy of Modern Capitalism, Harvard University
Yale Economic History Workshop

Monday, September 27, 2010

PEAES Conference: "Representations of Economy"

The Library Company of Philadelphia's Program in Early American Economy and Society (PEAES), in collaboration with the Visual Culture Program, will hold a conference on "Representations of Economy: Lithography in America from 1820 to 1860."  The conference will meet in Philadelphia on October 15, 2010.  It is free and open to all those interested, but registration is required.  As the organizers explain:
Interior view of L. J. Levy & Co.’s
Dry Goods Store, Philadelphia, c. 1857
(Free Library of Philadelphia)
Most Americans living in the four decades after 1820 witnessed rapid and deep changes in their economic conditions. . . .The great variety of changes wrought in America during this era was captured in print by an array of artists, draftsmen, printers, and distributors in the new profession of lithography. They created hundreds of graphic works, printed ephemera, and stunning hand-colored plates that conveyed the nature of economic changes. Lithography not only had an impact on the print culture of the era; it was also an industry that transformed working lives and directed the public’s “eye” toward commerce and shopping, fashion, agricultural fairs, architecture, manufacturing, belching smoke in the skyline, the rising height of storefronts, and the lurking dangers of new tenements and open-air markets.
The conference program is now available; papers will be posted closer to the conference date.  Please see the conference site for complete information.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Harvard-Newcomen Postdoctoral Fellowship Applications Due Soon

The Harvard-Newcomen Postdoctoral Fellowship in Business History is awarded for twelve months' residence, study, and research at Harvard Business School, July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012. The fellowship is open to scholars who, within the last ten years, have received a Ph.D. in history, economics, or a related discipline. The fellowship has two purposes: The first is to enable scholars to engage in research that will benefit from the resources of Harvard Business School and the larger Boston scholarly community. About two-thirds of the fellow's time will be available for research of his or her own choosing. A travel fund and a book fund will be provided. The second purpose is to provide an opportunity for the fellow to participate in the activities of Harvard Business School. Approximately one-third of the fellow's time will be devoted to school activities, including attendance of the Business History Seminar, and working with faculty teaching the business history courses offered in the MBA curriculum. The fellow is required to research and write a case, under the direction of a senior faculty member, to be used in one of the business history courses. Finally, the fellow is encouraged to submit an article to Business History Review during his or her year at the School.

Applications should be received no later than October 15, 2010, and submitted to: If there are materials that can be sent only in hard copy, please send them to: Walter A. Friedman, Rock Center 104, Harvard Business School, Boston, MA 02163, email: For full information about the Fellowship and the application process, please consult the appropriate section of the Business History Fellowships site.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Management and Marketing Faculty Openings at the University of Puget Sound

McIntyre Hall
The School of Business and Leadership at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, announces two openings for full-time, tenure-track positions open to candidates with a Ph.D. in business history.
1. Assistant or Associate Professor of Management (for complete posting and instructions). The person hired will teach undergraduate courses in management, primarily introductory management as well as elective courses in areas such as human resource management, international business, European or Asian business, research methods, leadership, or strategy.  Qualifications include Ph.D. (ABD considered) in management and a commitment to undergraduate teaching and liberal arts education. Will consider Ph.D. in appropriate related disciplines, such as psychology, economics, political science, sociology, education, communication, and history. 

2. Assistant or Associate Professor of Marketing (for complete posting and instructions). The person hired will teach undergraduate courses in marketing, primarily introductory marketing, as well as elective courses in areas such as marketing communications, marketing management/strategy, consumer behavior, or international marketing. Case analysis and projects that stimulate independent critical thinking and promote effective written and oral communication skills and problem solving should be an important component of these classes. 
For both positions, case analysis and projects that stimulate independent critical thinking and promote effective written and oral communication skills and problem solving should be an important component of these classes. Ability to research/teach with an international focus or in other disciplines within the School of Business and Leadership is highly desirable.  The deadline for submission of application materials is October 15, 2010.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

CFPs: German Historical Institute Spring 2011 Conferences

The German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C., has issued calls for papers for two upcoming conferences of interest to business and economic historians:

I. "Economic Crime and the State in the Twentieth Century: A German-American Comparison," to be held at the GHI on April 14-16, 2011; the convenor is Mario Daniels. The call for papers:
In view of the widely reported cases of corruption and fraud in companies such as Volkswagen, Siemens, and Enron, as well as the public outrage that followed in the wake of these scandals, it is surprising to note that relatively little historical research on economic crime in the twentieth century has been conducted to date. Although neighboring disciplines such as law, economics, political science, and sociology offer attractive approaches to the phenomenon of economic crime, they reflect little on the continuous changes in how illegal and immoral behavior has been defined and understood in the business world since the late nineteenth century.

This lacuna is even more conspicuous, as the relatively well-established field of corruption research has demonstrated that a historicization of nomenclature and a dense description of transformations in economic practices can afford far-reaching insights into historical societal forms, including their structures, conflicts, and developmental processes.

The workshop "Economic Crime and the State in the 20th century" would like to help fill this lacuna. To this end, it will try to draw on some of the methods and aims worked out in the field of corruption research and apply them to the entire spectrum of individual phenomena subsumed under the rather diffuse collective name of "economic crime," including embezzlement, tax evasion, certain forms of corruption, investment and subsidy fraud, antitrust infringement, and industrial espionage. Conclusions regarding the historical development of persecution by the state and the accompanying socio-political discussions are widely lacking for most of these offenses. Moreover, this enumeration of very different forms of delinquency shows the need for a concretization and differentiation of the employed terms and concepts. 
Paper proposals are welcome internationally from both young and established scholars from different disciplines, including, but not limited to, business history, economic history, economics, sociology, political science, and law. The workshop, to be held in English, will focus on discussions of pre-circulated papers of 5,000 to 6,000 words. Proposals should include a paper abstract (two pages maximum) and a short curriculum vitae in English. Proposals must be submitted via email (preferably in pdf format) by October 15, 2010 January 14, 2011, to Mario Daniels.  Expenses for travel and accommodation will be covered, though those selected are encouraged to defray organizing costs by soliciting funds from their home institution.  For a fuller explanation, please see the call for papers on the GHI website.

II. "Making Modern Consumers: Rationalization, Mechanization, and Digitization in the Twentieth Century," to be held at the GHI June 16-18, 2011; convenors are Gary Cross, Angelika Epple, and Uwe Spiekermann. The call for papers:
The historiography of twentieth-century consumption usually either analyzes processes of production or centers on narratives of actors. Consumption is presented as an active process, grounded in the changing patterns of needs and wants driven by firms, consumers, or both. While these narratives underline our understanding of rationalization as a process of acceleration, the rapidly developing spheres of consumption and production emerge as more or less autonomous, clearly separated from each other. Our conference will question this perspective.

In our view, historical analysis of consumption and consumerism in the twentieth century must include the structural economic and technological changes that are normally analyzed only in reference to a supposedly independent sphere of production. Depersonalized, anonymous structures shaped not only the way consumer goods were manufactured, but also reconfigured the sphere of consumption as well as the subject-formations and self-definitions of the individuals involved. Rationalization, mechanization, and digitization caused acceleration on all social levels. They shaped and were shaped by all aspects of twentieth-century consumption, from modern retailing, product design, advertising, and supposedly personal forms of communication to the perceptions and choices of all actors involved, including entrepreneurs, marketing specialists, and consumers.
To determine the extent and significance of these interactions among anonymous structures, the twentieth-century history of consumption, and the process of acceleration, the conference will focus on three major topics:
First, we will present and analyze basic structural innovations that served to rationalize, mechanize, and digitize consumption. We will provide insight into both the actors behind these processes and the new demands that these processes placed on individuals, particularly on consumers.  Second, . . . we will focus on how these anonymous structures led to the reconfiguring of services, consumer goods, and packaging-as well as of shops and other spaces of consumption. We will also examine shifts in the communicative presentation of services, changes in advertising and marketing, and redefinitions of salespersons, service staff, and consuming subjects. Third, we will focus on acceleration processes caused by the rationalization, mechanization, and digitization of production and consumption.
The conference will not only compare American and European developments and examples. It will also investigate their interactions and mutual interferences. Special attention will be given to papers that include developments in non-Western societies.
Paper proposals (one page preferred, two pages maximum) are welcome for all topics from both young and established scholars of different countries and disciplines. Proposals should include an abstract in English and a curriculum vitae. These materials should be submitted via email (preferably in pdf format) by October 15, 2010, to Bärbel Thomas. For a complete explanation, please see the full call for papers.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Latin American Business History Initiative at HBS

The Business History Group in Harvard Business School’s Entrepreneurial Management Unit and Baker Library Historical Collections announce a new online resource — Latin American Business History: Resources and Research. Laura Linard from Historical Collections explains:
The Business History Group has made the globalization of research and teaching of business history a high priority and has a strong interest in facilitating research on Latin American business history, especially within the Southern Cone of the continent, initially Chile and Argentina. . . .

Included in this Web resource are excerpts from oral histories with twenty-one leading business practitioners from Argentina and Chile, conducted by HBS Research Fellow Dr. Andrea Lluch.  . . .  These interviews are a valuable resource for research on the business history of Argentina and Chile since the 1960s. The interview transcripts are available only for academic and scholarly research upon request from Baker Library Historical Collections
Loading bananas, Colombia, c. 1927. United Fruit
Company Photograph Collection, Baker Library
Historical Collections, HBS.
The website includes descriptions of and collection guides for a range of photographic, manuscript, and book resources within Baker Library Historical Collections that document Latin America business history. Major collections include the United Fruit Photograph Collection, 1891–1962, which includes approximately 10,400 photographs recording not only the enterprises and operations of this influential company but also the life within the company towns and villages.
This initiative was coordinated by Geoffrey Jones, the Isidor Straus Professor of Business History at Harvard Business School, and facilitated by Sven von Appen, an HBS alumnus and prominent Latin American businessman.  This ongoing project is conducted in association with Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.

Kim Phillips-Fein's Invisible Hands in the News

Kim Phillips-Fein's recent book, Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan (Norton, 2009, and out in paperback in January 2010), was recently mentioned by NYT op-ed columnist Frank Rich, who wrote: "[Tea Party financial backers] are the latest incarnation of what the historian Kim Phillips-Fein labeled 'Invisible Hands' in her prescient 2009 book of that title: those corporate players who have financed the far right ever since the du Pont brothers spawned the American Liberty League in 1934 to bring down F.D.R."

Phillips-Fein, who teaches history at New York University, has written and spoken about her research widely in the last year.  Her own pieces can be found on The Huffington Post ("Fighting the New Deal All Over Again" and "'Invisible Hands': The Dangerous Power of Business"), and video presentations on BookTVProgressive Book Club, and HNN (2009 OAH paper).

Phillips-Fein, who received her Ph.D. in history from Columbia University in 2005, received the school's Bancroft Dissertation Award in 2007 for "Top-Down Revolution: Businessmen, Intellectuals, and Politicians against the New Deal."

Friday, September 17, 2010

New Prize Fellowship in Economics, History, and Politics

Harvard University announces a new program of three-year postdoctoral fellowships in economics, history, and politics, to be held at the university between 2011 and 2016. In the words of the announcement, The fellowships are intended "to encourage outstanding scholarship within and across the disciplinary limits of economics, history, politics and related subjects. We particularly encourage the nomination of scholars whose work addresses questions of lasting importance to the understanding of economic change." Further,
The Program seeks outstanding candidates early in their scholarly careers, and is looking for truly extraordinary scholars. We expect that candidates will have completed their routine training for advanced study and will be far along in the dissertation stage, able to submit samples of independent work (articles, papers, dissertation chapters) in support of their candidacies. If still pursuing the Ph.D., Prize Fellows should be prepared to finish their degrees before becoming fellows. If already a recipient of the Ph.D., they should not be more than two years past the degree at the time the fellowship commences. 
Candidates for Prize Fellowships must be nominated, generally by those under whom they have studied. Applications are not accepted from candidates themselves. The program requires that all submissions (letters of nomination, letters of recommendation, and the applicant’s CV, written work, and proposal of study) be submitted electronically through a link on the website (not via email). For information about making a nomination (nominators will need a username and password supplied by the office), please contact Jessica Barnard at

The deadline for nominations for the 2011 academic year is October 15, 2010, and for receipt of materials, November 1, 2010.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

CFP: European Business History Association Meeting, Athens, 2011

The European Business History Association (EBHA), in conjunction with Hellenic Open University, will hold its fifteenth annual meeting at the National Technical University in Athens, Greece, August 24-26, 2011.  The theme of the conference will be "Business Finance and the State in the 20th Century: European Comparisons in Historical Perspectives–Crises and Transformation." The call for papers explains:
The theme of the conference refers to the debate and discussion of economic crises and recessions in the 20th century, stimulated by the onslaught of the first severe recession of the 21st century. The contradictions of globalisation have set in motion a process of introspection and questioning about the role of business, finance and the state and a need to study the past, rethink concepts and processes, find keys to understanding the present and working towards a solution for the future. Relations between business and the world of finance, on the one hand, and state and finance, on the other, are of particular importance and their study continues to generate useful comparisons, experiences and new perspectives. The role, strategies and practices of the corporate and other sectors of business prevalent in the West need to be re-examined. Alternative patterns of economic structures and synergies, various industries, as well as various degrees and forms of state intervention are resurfacing as potential solutions, in order to induce economic activity and preserve the tissue and peace of societies. They have implications for entrepreneurial initiative and business organisation as well as changes in corporate strategy and governance.
For a complete description of the conference theme, please see the full call for papers.

Proposals for papers or sessions related to the theme of the conference are welcome, although paper and session proposals not directly related to it will also be considered. For paper proposals, please submit a title and abstract of no more than 400 words (one A4 page) along with a one- page CV to Session proposals should include a brief abstract of the session along with a one-page abstract and a one-page CV for each participant. Deadline for all proposals is January 15, 2011.

For further details please see the conference website.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Oldest Dutch East India Company Share Found

As widely reported in the press last Friday, Dutch graduate student Ruben Schalk, working in the West Frisian archives on research for his Master's degree at the University of Utrecht, found what appears to be the oldest share of Dutch East India Company (VOC) stock; the share previously thought to be the oldest is dated September 27, 1606, whereas the share Schalk found is dated September 9, 1606. The document will anchor an exhibit at the Westfries Museum running from September 10 to November 21, 2010, accompanied by a useful on-line exhibit providing historical details and a zoomable view of the share document.

Readers might also be interested in Larry Neal's PowerPoint presentation on "Venture Shares of the Dutch East India Company" for his course last spring at the London School of Economics. Neal, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Illinois, is currently a visiting professor at the LSE. He is most recently the editor, with Jeremy Atack, of The Origin and Development of Financial Markets and Institutions from the Seventeenth Century to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Doctoral Colloquium at 2011 BHC Meeting

We want to remind students writing dissertations in business history and their advisors about the Oxford Journals Doctoral Colloquium in Business History, which will be held in conjunction with the 2011 BHC annual meeting in St. Louis. This prestigious workshop, sponsored by the BHC and generously funded by the Journals Division of Oxford University Press, will take place Wednesday evening, 30 March 2011, and all day Thursday, 31 March 2011. The Colloquium offers a small group of graduate students an opportunity to work intensively on their dissertations with distinguished Business History Conference-affiliated scholars, including at least two BHC officers. The Colloquium is limited to ten students. Participants will discuss dissertation proposals, relevant literatures and research strategies, and employment opportunities in business history. The Colloquium is intended for doctoral candidates in the early stages of their dissertation projects. If you are interested in being considered for the Colloquium, please submit
  • a statement of interest
  • a CV
  • a preliminary or final dissertation prospectus of 10-15 pages
  • a letter of support from your dissertation supervisor (or prospective supervisor)
to Roger Horowitz at Secretary-Treasurer, Business History Conference, P. O. Box 3630, Wilmington, DE 19807, USA. Phone: (302) 658-2400; fax: (302) 655-3188; or via email at by 1 December 2010.

All participants receive a stipend that will partially cover the costs of their attendance at the annual meeting. The Colloquium committee will notify all applicants of its decisions by 10 January 2011.

Please direct questions about the Doctoral Colloquium to:
Pamela W. Laird, Ph.D.
BHC Doctoral Colloquium Director
Professor, History Department
University of Colorado Denver
Denver, CO 80217-3364 USA

Saturday, September 11, 2010

CFP: Graduate Student Conference: "Capitalism in Action"

The Third Graduate Student Conference on the History of Capitalism will be held at Harvard University on March 4-6, 2011. "Capitalism in Action" is the theme of the meeting, which will feature Jackson Lears as the keynote speaker. The following call for papers has been issued:
Discussions of American capitalism often uncritically rely on loaded but abstract terms, from “markets” to “capital.” This conference aims to bring together emerging scholars who are interested in interrogating the nitty-gritty details of how capitalist systems have been imagined, constructed, maintained, altered, and challenged by an array of different historical actors in the United States and across the globe. What does “the economy” look like once we shift our focus from intangible market models toward the concrete workings of capitalist society and culture? In this conference, we hope to expand our understanding of American history by analyzing many different moments of “capitalism in action.”

We welcome papers by fellow graduate students from many different fields, such as cultural, social or business histories of capitalism. We encourage papers on a range of diverse topics. Possible paper subjects could include anything from mortgage-backed derivatives, land speculation, and the geography of garbage to corporate personhood, consumer branding, and the political economy of baseball. We welcome the submission of panels as well.

Interested graduate students should submit a C.V. and a 750-word abstract of their paper (description, significance, sources, current status) to

The submission deadline is November 1, 2010. Those selected to present will be notified by November 19 and will receive a stipend toward travel costs. 
Previous conference programs can be found at (2006) and (2008).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

EAEPE 2010 Conference Program Now Available

The European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy (EAEPE), which will hold its next meeting in Bordeaux, France, on 28-31 October 2010, has now posted the preliminary program. The theme of the conference, to be held at the University of Montesquieu Bordeaux IV and locally organized by GREThA (Groupe de Recherche en Économie théoretique et Appliquée), is "Economic Crisis and the Renewal of the European Model(s): Revisiting the Debate on Varieties of Capitalism." The many session topics include "Theories of the Firm," "Revisiting the Debate on the Varieties of Capitalism," "Innovation and Technological Change," and "Knowledge, Innovation, and Economic Performances." For full information about the conference, including registration materials, please visit the EAEPE 2010 Conference website; for more information about EAEPE itself, please visit their homepage.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tiffany Gill Wins ABWH Award

Tiffany Gill's recent book, Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women's Activism in the Beauty Industry, has been given the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Award for best publication from the Association of Black Women Historians. The award will be bestowed at the ABWH luncheon in Raleigh, North Carolina, on October 2, 2010, at the ASALH (Association for the Study of African American Life and History) annual meeting. Professor Gill teaches at the University of Texas at Austin.
Beauty Shop Politics, mentioned here earlier, examines the ways in which black beauticians in the Jim Crow era used their economic independence and access to a public community space as platforms for activism.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

CFP: IHPRC, 6-7 July 2011

Academics, practitioners, and research students are invited to submit competitive abstracts and papers for presentation at the second International History of Public Relations Conference, to be held July 6-7, 2011, at Bournemouth University in England. Papers for presentation at the 2011 conference will be selected, after peer review, on the basis of abstracts of no more than two pages total length, including any references. Author details must be printed on a separate sheet and the author(s) should not be identified in the abstract. For a list of possible themes and topics, please see the full call for papers on the IHPRC site. Papers are especially welcome from scholars in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Please send abstracts to Professor Tom Watson, conference chair, The Media School, Bournemouth University, The deadline for submission of abstracts is Monday, December 6, 2010.

Those interested in presenting might find it helpful to look at the 2010 program. The opening keynote speaker, whose talk is available on-line [about 12.5 min. in], was Karen Miller Russell, who teaches public relations and media history at the University of Georgia and is currently the editor of the Journal of Public Relations Research.  She is perhaps best known in BHC circles as the author of The Voice of Business: Hill and Knowlton and Postwar Public Relations (University of North Carolina Press).

Monday, September 6, 2010

CFP: Slavery and Capitalism in the United States

In April 2011, Brown University and Harvard University will jointly host a conference on slavery and American economic development. The conveners, Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman, are currently seeking proposals for papers that explore the intertwined histories of slavery and capitalism in the decades between the American Revolution and the Civil War. The conference seeks to showcase scholarship that integrates quantitative and qualitative sources, draws on social, cultural, and political history, and incorporates insights from political economy, law, and critical theory. A range of topics and approaches are desired, including (but not limited to) biography; local and institutional studies; investigations of the manufacturing and financial sectors; questions of human capital and migration; histories of labor, management, and business practices; and accounts of inter-regional economic and political integration.

Please send a 2-3 page proposal and c.v. to by September
20, 2010, for consideration. Queries should be submitted to the same address.