Friday, April 29, 2011

CFP: The Transformation of the World Steel Industry

"The Transformation of the World Steel Industry from the Twentieth Century to the Present" aims to examine the transformations that have occurred in all areas of the industry, encouraging a multidisciplinary and comparative reflection about the origins and forms of those changes. The approach will be essentially historical, but the conference is also open to other disciplines such as geography, economics, business administration, sociology, and engineering. Supported by the Association Internationale d'Histoire Contemporaine de l'Europe (AIHCE), the conference is divided into two parts differing in terms of orientation, dates, and location. Presentations will be in French or English, without translation, according to the speaker’s choice.
   The first part of the symposium, which will take place May 24-25, 2012, in Le Creusot (home of the Académie François Bourdon), will deal with global questions, whereas the second part, taking place September 13-14, 2012, in Luxembourg, will focus more specifically on the European dimension. The results of both sessions will be published in the conference proceedings.
   Proposals for papers, either in French or in English , should not exceed 2,000-2,500 characters. Proposals can be made specifically to one of the two sessions, or left to the judgement of the Scientific Committee. An electronic copy and a CV must be sent to the following three addresses no later than September 1, 2011:
Charles Barthel:
Ivan Kharaba:
Philippe Mioche:
   The organizers also intend to devote half a day of the Luxembourg session to a workshop for young researchers (doctoral or postdoctoral students). Complete papers proposed for this session (maximum 25,000-30,000 characters) in French or in English, accompanied by a CV, should be submitted to the addresses above by December 31, 2011.
   For full information about the themes of the two meetings and other organizational details, please see the full call for papers.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nate Holdren Awarded Hurst Fellowship

Nate Holdren, a Ph.D. candidate in History at the University of Minnesota, has been awarded a fellowship to attend the 2011 Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Holdren, whose dissertation is entitled “‘The Compensation Law Put Us Out Of Work’: Law, Workplace Injury, and Disability in the Early 20th-Century United States,” presented a paper at the recent Business History Conference on “Screening for ‘Impaired Risks’: Risk, Medical Examinations, and Hiring at the Pullman Company in the Early Twentieth Century.” He is one of thirteen early-career scholars selected from an international pool of applicants to participate in the two-week program, which is named in honor of University of Wisconsin Law School legal historian J. Willard Hurst. Each Hurst Institute is organized and chaired by a prominent legal historian and includes visiting senior scholars who lead specialized sessions. The two-week program is structured but informal, and features presentations by guest scholars, discussions of core readings in legal history, and analysis of the work of the participants in the Institute.
   Barbara Young Welke (University of Minnesota) will chair the 2011 session. Guest scholars will include Lauren Benton (NYU), Christopher Tomlins (UC-Irvine), Lawrence Friedman (Stanford University), and Robert Gordon (Yale University).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Richard White on High-Speed Rail and Transcontinental Railroads

Last weekend, Richard White, Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at Stanford University, weighed in on the New York Times Op-Ed pages on the efficacy of government subsidies for high-speed rail. He writes,
In his State of the Union address, President Obama compared high-speed rail to the 19th-century transcontinental railroads as parallel examples of American innovation. I fear he may be right. For the country as a whole, the Pacific Railway Act of 1864 and subsequent legislation subsidizing the transcontinental railroads — the lines that crossed the continent from the 98th meridian to the Pacific Coast — were the worst laws money could buy. By encouraging dumb growth, those laws sacrificed public good for private gain. . . .
White, who may be most well known for his seminal book, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires and Republic in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815 (2d ed., 2010), has recently been working on the history of the transcontinental railroads and their impact. His book, Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America, will be published by W. W. Norton in May.
      With the assistance of a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation, White has also launched an innovative spatial history lab at Stanford, using historical GIS and other technologies to discover new patterns within historical data. In a 2007 feature article in Stanford Magazine, White said, “We’re talking about something well beyond a fancy map . . . We’re giving people a view of the past they otherwise wouldn’t have. We’ll be able to answer questions we otherwise couldn’t answer.” The first fruits of these efforts can be found on the project website.

Monday, April 25, 2011

AFHé Opens New Information Portal

The Association Française d'histoire économique (AFHé) has opened a new website, Hypothèses.  According to the organizers, the
site complements the mailing list (, and aims to acquaint researchers (historians, economists, sociologists, managers ...) about various information on the latest research in economic history: conferences, publications, calls for projects, summaries of work . . . , proceedings of seminars, study days or conferences, debates.... The objective is to contribute to the visibility of economic history by facilitating intellectual exchange among researchers and providing space for issues that stimulate the scholarly community.
The host site, "Hypotheses," is devoted to postings related to research in the humanities and social sciences overall; it is one project of the French "Centre for Open Electronic Publishing" (Cléo--Centre pour L'Édition Électronique Ouverte), a laboratory involving CNRS, EHESS, the University of Provence, and the University of Avignon. Cléo also publishes Calenda (a calendar of events in the social sciences and humanities) and Revues (scholarly journals and articles). Access to all Cléo sites can be found at the Open Edition portal.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

“Cultures of Consumption in Asia and Europe” Applications Available

The Cluster "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" at the University of Heidelberg will conduct a summer school on the topic, "Cultures of Consumption in Asia and Europe" on July 24-28, 2011; the program is directed at graduate students interested in the flows of culture and consumption between Asia and Europe in a broad range of disciplines. As the organizers explain,
This year’s Summer School will be a collaborative effort of researchers from different countries to explore various ways in which consumer goods and cultural frameworks of consumption have provided crucial interfaces of entanglement between Europe and Asia in global context.The programme of the Summer School will combine lectures by the foremost researchers in the respective disciplines with the interactive seminars and workshops. The examined topics will be particularly relevant to the graduate students with background in cultural and economic history, area studies, ethnography and anthropology as well as social sciences. 
The application form should be sent electronically together with a letter of motivation to by May 31, 2011.Complete details, including the application form, information about fees, and the program, can be found on the summer school website.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

CHARM 2011 Program Now Available

The program for the upcoming meeting of the Conference on Historical Analysis and Research in Marketing (CHARM) is now available on-line. The theme of the meeting, which will take place in New York City, May 19-22, 2011, is "Marketing History in the New World." Full information about registration and local arrangements, as well as the program, can be found on the meeting website.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

CFP: Economic History of Globalization

Papers are invited for an "International Workshop on the Economic History of Globalization," to be held in Leuven, Belgium, on October 20-21, 2011. The workshop is organized jointly by the International Network for Economic Research, the Leuven Centre for Irish Studies, the Institute for Economic and Social History at Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, and the Research Group on Globalization, Innovation, and Competition at Hogeschool Universiteit Brussel, with the support of the History Department at Ghent University and the University of Antwerp.
   Only full papers may be submitted, preferably in pdf format. Papers should be submitted to Jan Van Hove, director for economic research at the Leuven Centre for Irish Studies, via e-mail to; the deadline is June 1, 2011.
  As keynote speakers, the workshop organizers have secured Jeffrey Williamson (Harvard University and University of Wisconsin), Cormac O’Grada (University College Dublin), Ulrich Pfister (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster), Nikolaus Wolf (Humboldt-Universität Berlin), and Herman Van der Wee (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven).
   For complete information about submission and for registration and accommodation details, please see the full announcement.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Call for Candidates: EBHA Doctoral Summer School

The 6th edition of the EBHA (European Business History Association) Summer School will take place in Italy from Saturday, August 27, to Thursday, September 1, 2011. The school aims to provide doctoral students with an overview of relevant research results and of innovative tools and methodologies in the field of business history. It is organized jointly by the European Business History Association, the Istituto per la Cultura e la Storia d’Impresa Franco Momigliano (ICSIM) of Terni, and the Italian Association for Business History (ASSI). Students will be accommodated in the beautiful hills of Umbria (at San Gemini, Terni, approximately one hour from Rome by train), where they will debate and discuss their research with leading international scholars.

The topic of this year's summer school will be "Business History: Debates, Challenges, and Opportunities." The school will focus on theoretical, methodological, and practical issues of relevance for advanced research in business history. The main aim of the school is to provide students with a full understanding of the newest trends in research in the field and to provide a friendly atmosphere in which to discuss their preliminary findings with leading scholars as well as among their peers. The program features both lectures and seminars given by faculty and student presentations of their research projects. The organizers will cover all local costs
(accommodation and food), but participants are expected to pay their own travel expenses. Participation will be limited to 15-20 Ph.D. students.

Those interested in attending the summer school should send the following documents by e-mail to the academic organizer, Dr. Francesca Polese ( :
a brief CV (not exceeding one page);
a summary of their dissertation project, not exceeding three pages; and
(if possible) an example of their work in progress--for example, a draft chapter or a working paper (in any language).
The deadline for applications is May 31, 2011. A maximum of 20 participants will be selected from these applications and will be notified by June 15, 2011.

Friday, April 15, 2011

EABH Conference and Workshop Information Available

The European Association of Banking and Financial History (EABH) has posted information about its upcoming conference, which till take place in Amsterdam on May 20-21, 2011. The theme of the conference is "Corporate Governance in Financial Institutions: Historical Developments and Current Problems." The meeting will be accompanied by a workshop on "Photography Collections of (Financial) Companies: A Corporate Historical View," which will take place on May 19. In the words of the organizers, the conference:
intends to evoke discussions about the historical antecedents and evolution of the management control, ownership and regulation in financial institutions. In particular, the conference will focus on four topics: Models of Corporate Governance; Governance Mechanisms in Financial Institutions; Regulation and Legislation of Governance; Archives and Corporate Governance. The conference will explore the historical evolution of corporate governance in the finance and insurance industry, and the impact banking and financial crises have had on this evolution, both in a European and global context. The conference will open with a panel discussion on Corporate Governance.
The aim of the workshop is to put corporate photography collections in the spotlight, with a focus on photography at financial companies. Where are these collections? How are they preserved and managed? Who knows about them? How are they used? How can we see these collections? Please note that participation in the workshop is limited; registration must be completed by Friday, April 29, 2011.
   Registration and accommodation information for both the conference and the workshop can be found on the EABH conference website.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

BHC 2011 Prizes Announced

Following is a complete list of prizes and awards announced at the recent BHC meeting in St. Louis:

Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is bestowed every two years to a scholar who has contributed significantly to the work of the Business History Conference and to scholarship in business history.
   To Richard Sylla, Stern School of Business, New York University

Hagley Prize. The prize is awarded jointly by the Hagley Museum and Library and the Business History Conference to the best book in business history (broadly defined) written in English and published during the two years prior to the award.
   To Susan Ingalls Lewis (State University of New York at New Paltz),Unexceptional Women: Female Proprietors in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Albany, New York, 1830-1885 (Ohio State University Press, 2009)

Ralph Gomory Book Prize. This prize, made possible by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, recognizes historical work on the effects of business enterprises on the economic conditions of the countries in which they operate.
   To Richard R. John (Columbia University), Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications (Harvard University Press, 2010).
   Honorable Mention: James R. Fichter (Lingnan University), So Great a Proffit: How the East Indies Trade Transformed Anglo-American Capitalism (Harvard University Press, 2010)

Oxford Journals Article Prize. This prize recognizes the author of an article published in Enterprise & Society judged to be the best of those that have appeared in volume previous to the year of the BHC annual meeting.
   To Oskar Broberg (Gothenberg University), “Labeling the Good: Alternative Visions and Organic Branding in Sweden in the Late Twentieth Century," Enterprise & Society 11 (Dec. 2010): 811-838.

Mira Wilkins Prize. This prize, established in recognition of the path-breaking scholarship of Mira Wilkins, is awarded to the author of the best article published annually in Enterprise & Society pertaining to international and comparative business history.
   To Marcelo Bucheli (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), “Multinational Corporations, Business Groups, and Economic Nationalism: Standard Oil (New Jersey), Royal Dutch-Shell, and Energy Politics in Chile 1913–2005,” Enterprise & Society 11 (June 2010): 350-399

Herman E. Krooss Prize. The prize recognizes the best dissertation in business history written in English and completed in the three calendar years immediately prior to the annual meeting.
   To Dan Bouk (Colgate University), “The Science of Difference: Developing Tools for Discrimination in the American Life Insurance Industry, 1830-1930,”(Princeton University, 2009)

K. Austin Kerr Prize. The prize recognizes the best first paper delivered at the annual meeting of the Business History Conference by a new scholar (doctoral student or those within three years of receiving their Ph.D). It honors K. Austin Kerr, longtime professor of history at the Ohio State University and former president of the Business History Conference.
   To Di Yin Lu (Harvard University), “Shanghai's Art Dealers and the International Market for Chinese Art, 1922-1949”
   Honorable Mention: Kelly Arehart (College of William and Mary), “ 'To Put a Mass of Putrefying Animal Matter into a Fine Plush Casket': The Development of Professional Knowledge among Morticians, 1880-1920”
   Honorable Mention: Johan Mathew (Harvard University), “Controlling Currency and Smuggling Specie in the Arabian Sea, 1873-1966”

The CEBC Halloran Prize in the History of Corporate Responsibility. The prize recognizes a paper presented at the BHC annual meeting that makes a significant contribution to the history of corporate responsibility. It is funded by the Center for Ethical Business Cultures (CEBC) at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business in honor of Harry R. Halloran, Jr.
   To Ann-Kristin Bergquist Umeå University)and Kristina Söderholm (Luleå University of Technology), “The Making of a Green Innovation System: The Swedish Institute for Water and Air Protection and the Swedish Pulp and Paper Industry in the mid-1960s to the 1980s”

For more information about these prizes, go to or contact Roger Horowitz, BHC Secretary-Treasurer,

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rovensky Fellowship 2011-2012 Winners Announced

Committee chair William J. Hausman has announced that John E. Rovensky Fellowships have been awarded to Cory Davis, a graduate student in the Department of History, University of Illinois, Chicago, and Gregory Niemesh, a graduate student in the Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University. The topic of Davis's dissertation is "A Commercial Republic: The National Board of Trade and Political Economy in the Late Nineteenth-Century United States." Niemesh is working on "The Economic and Health Benefits of Food Fortification in the United States."
   Rovensky Fellows must be working toward a Ph.D. degree with American business or economic history as the area of major interest and must be enrolled in a doctoral program at an accredited college or university in the United States. The Fellowship provides a cash award of $10,000.
   Other committee members are Steven Usselman (Georgia Tech), Pamela Walker Laird (Colorado-Denver), Margaret Levenstein (University of Michigan), Mary O'Sullivan (University of Geneva), Mary Yeager (UCLA), and Marc Weidenmier (Claremont McKenna). These fellowships arise from a substantial gift which Mr. Rovensky made to the Lincoln Educational Foundation in 1961; the monies and the Fellowship program are now administered by the University of Illinois Foundation.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Job Opening: University of Geneva

Mary O'Sullivan reports that the University of Geneva has an opening for a tenured full professor of economic history in the Department of Economic Sciences. Candidates should hold a Ph.D. in economic history, history, economics or another relevant field and must have a proven track record of publications (books and/ or journal articles). Preference will be given to candidates with a strong commitment to research in international and/or comparative economic history. The position involves teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels with a teaching load of six hours per week during 28 weeks of the year. Teaching at the undergraduate level is mainly in French; teaching at the graduate level is in French and English. Full professors should expect to participate in the management of the department, the coordination of the Paul Bairoch Institute of Economic History, and may be involved in administrative tasks at the university level. The application deadline is May 11, 2011.
  Contacts:  Prof. H. Loubergé, Head of the Department of Economic Sciences ( or Professor Mary O’Sullivan, Professor of Economic History (
  For further information about this opening, the list of supporting documents required, and the address for sending applications, see the university's employment listing.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

“Is Business Our Business Too?” A Post from AmericanScience

Over at the AmericanScience team blog Dan Bouk has an engaging post about his experience at the recently concluded BHC annual meeting. His answer to the question, "Is Business Our [historians of science, medicine,  and technology] Our Business Too?" is a resounding yes. In the process, he gives a good overview of the SMT papers presented at the meeting. He modestly does not mention that his own work, on "The Science of Difference: Developing Tools for Discrimination in the American Life Insurance Industry," won the Herman E. Krooss Prize for the best dissertation presented at the meeting.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

CFP: 2012 Business History Conference

Proposals are invited for presentations to the 2012 annual meeting of the Business History Conference (BHC), which will take place March 29-31 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the Hyatt Regency Penn's Landing.

The theme for the conference is “Business and the State.” We are interested in substantive research on all aspects of business and the state. Potential topics include, but are not limited to: the regulation of business, state promotion of business and economic development, standards setting, government rules regarding the organization of businesses, and the interactions among businesses and consumers, citizens, and other businesses. We are interested in research on state-owned enterprises, mixed public-private entities, and nationalization and privatization. We are interested in legal history relevant to business, such as bankruptcy, corporate, labor, and patent law. We encourage submissions of research on the development of capacity within the state itself, including studies of particular agencies (or quasi-governmental organizations) and state projects. In keeping with longstanding BHC policy, the committee will also entertain submissions not directly related to the conference theme.

For complete information about proposing sessions and individual papers and about eligibility for BHC prizes and awards, please see the complete call for papers. The deadline for receipt of all proposals is October 1, 2011.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

EBHS Program Now Available

The conference program for this year's meeting of the Economic and Business Historical Society, to be held April 14-16 in Columbus, Ohio, has now been posted on the Society's website. Participants familiar to BHC members include R. Daniel Wadhwani (on the origins of the Indian IT sector), Janice Traflet (on Charles Merrill re-evaluated), Jari Eloranta (on interwar demand for military spending), Mark Billings (on British retail banking, 1945-1970), and Lynne Pierson Doti (on the housing boom in 1970s California). The keynote speaker is Richard Steckel of the Ohio State University, whose talk is entitled “Keeping Score: New Biological Measures of the Standard of Living.”

Monday, April 4, 2011

John and Lewis Win BHC Book Prizes

At its recent meeting in St. Louis, the Business History Conference awarded its two prestigious book prizes, the Ralph Gomory Prize and the Hagley Prize in Business History.
  The Gomory Prize, made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, "recognizes historical work on the effect business enterprises have on the economic conditions of a country in which they operate." The initial award, which considered work published in English in 2009 and 2010, went to Richard R. John, professor in the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, for Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications (Harvard University Press, 2010). The book was previously featured on this blog, where links to reviews and commentary can be found.
   The Hagley Prize for the best book in business history published within the previous two years was awarded to Susan Ingalls Lewis, associate professor of history at the State University of New York, New Paltz, for Unexceptional Women: Female Proprietors in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Albany, New York, 1830–1885 (Ohio State University Press, 2009). Earlier, Wendy Gamber had written that the book “convincingly demonstrates that in nineteenth-century Albany . . . businesswomen were ordinary rather than exceptional. Lewis is especially adept at showing how idealized notions of womanhood, individualism, entrepreneurial success, obsession with change over time, and erroneously clear-cut distinctions between ‘business’ and ‘labor’ distort the realities of businesswomen’s lives and careers.” Readers can find excerpts from the book here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Trade Catalogs as a Research Tool: Historical Seed Catalogs

Trade catalogs can serve as invaluable sources for business historians, not only for technical details, but also for their explicit or implied commentaries on business, economics, culture, politics, and society. Long of interest to agricultural historians, horticulturists, and collectors of ephemera, seed catalogs provide a range of information as well as lovely images. A number of institutions have made available a selection of their holdings on-line, and several others have compiled bibliographical information about these resources.  A sampling:
Seed Catalogs from the Smithsonian Institution: 500 images
Mail Order Gardens, and Harvest of Freedom, Cornell University Library
Nursery and Seed Catalog Image Gallery, USDA National Agricultural Library
Seed and Nursery Catalog Exhibit, Oregon State University
Reuter's Seeds for the South, Tulane University
Suitable for Cultivation, University of Delaware
Seed Catalogs, Iowa State University Digital Collections
Dutch Nursery Catalogs, Wageningen UR
Seed Catalogs, Digital Horizons (Great Plains network)
Bibliographical listings and finding aids include:
Bibliography, American Seed and Nursery Industry
Gardening Collection Finding Aid, Washington State University Library
Seed Catalog Finding Aid, University of Delaware Library