Monday, October 31, 2011

CFP: Markets, Law, and Ethics, 1400-1850

A call for papers has been issued for a conference on "Markets, Law, and Ethics, 1400-1850," which will be held at the University of Sheffield on June 22-24, 2012. In the words of the organizers,
This call seeks papers concerned with the culture of the market in the late medieval and early modern periods, conceived broadly as the norms, laws, customs and practices of exchange, including (but not limited to) buying and selling and lending and borrowing in 1400-1850. . . . This conference offers an opportunity for scholars from diverse historiographical backgrounds to come together and compare and contrast findings and thoughts across conventional chronologies and geographies, to reflect on the implications of supra-imperial and global approaches, and ponder possible future interpretations of late medieval/early modern market culture.
    Paper proposals should include a title and 300-word abstracts, and should be emailed to Simon Middleton and J. E. Shaw by December 15, 2011. Invited speakers include Christopher Tomlins, Martha Howell, and Pierre Gervais. Please see the full call for papers for a complete list and additional details.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Historians' Take on Occupy Wall Street

Bonus Army, Washington, D.C, July 1932
(Library of Congress)
A number of scholars, including some business and labor historians, have been commenting on historical points of comparison for the current "Occupy Wall Street" movement. A brief rundown:
Alan Brinkley, Columbia University, on Politico, "Bonus March and Occupy Wall Street"
Steve Fraser, New York University, in The Nation, "OWS and the All-American Tradition of Resistance"
Beverly Gage, Yale University, on NPR's "All Things Considered" (transcript and audio)
Gary Gerstle, Vanderbilt University, in and on YouTube
Michael Kazin, Georgetown University, New York Times, "Whatever Happened to the American Left?"
Kim Phillips-Fein, New York University, New York Times op-ed, "In Bleak '70s, Salvo of Protest"
Judith Stein, City University of New York, at Dissent, "OWS: A Sign of Our Times"
The History News Network is keeping a list of historians' commentary on its Hot Topics page, and Tomiko Brown-Nagin has offered a rundown with commentary over at the Legal History Blog.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Program: “Resources: Endowment or Curse, Better or Worse?”

The Yale Program in Economic History and Yale Environmental History will co-sponsor a conference on the theme “Resources: Endowment or Curse, Better or Worse,” which will take place on February 24-25, 2012. The program has now been posted on the Program in Economic History website. Among the questions the conference will consider are: “How do the characteristics and availability of natural resources shape political institutions? How have states mobilized resources to bolster their legitimacy and extend their influence? How have economic and environmental historians, political scientists, and others approached the concept of resources in the past and what are some directions for future work?” The keynote address will be given by Richard White of Stanford University, who will speak on “Incommensurate Measures: Nature, History, and Economics.”
    Further information and updates about the conference will be posted on the Yale Program in Economic History website as they become available.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

CFP: Economic History Association, 2012

The Economic History Association (EHA) will hold its next annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, on September 21-23, 2012. The theme for the meeting is "Revisiting the Transportation Revolution." The program committee (Robert Margo, Boston University [chair]; Ran Abramitzky, Stanford University; Leah Boustan, UCLA; and Eugene White, Rutgers University) welcomes submissions on all subjects in economic history, though some preference will be given to papers that specifically fit the year's theme. All papers should be submitted individually; authors may suggest that three particular papers would fit well together in a session but such suggestions are not binding on the committee.
    Papers and session proposals should be submitted online at Paper proposals should include a 3-5 page précis and a 150-word abstract suitable for publication in the Journal of Economic History. The submission deadline is January 27, 2012.
    A poster session welcomes work from dissertations in progress. Applications for the poster session should be submitted online and are due no later than May 18, 2012. The dissertation session convened by Naomi Lamoreaux (Yale University) and Joachim Voth (Pompeu Fabra University) will honor six dissertations completed during the 2011-2012 academic year. The submission deadline is May 15, 2012. Information on how to submit will be posted at
    More details are available on the EHA 2012 meeting page, and additional information will be posted there as it becomes available. Questions may be directed to EHA Meetings Coordinator Jari Eloranta.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Exhibit: Money and Beauty

Detail from Marinus van Reymerswaele,
"The Usurers," c. 1540
Readers may be interested in an exhibit that opened in September at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence,"Money and Beauty: Bankers, Botticelli, and the Bonfire of the Vanities." The exhibit "recounts the birth of our modern banking system and of the economic boom that it triggered, providing a reconstruction of European life and the continent's economy from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance." For those fortunate enough to be in Florence soon, the exhibit runs through January 22, 2012; others can read more about the exhibit and see examples of the artwork on a number of sites, in addition to the "exhibition walkthrough" material on the Palazzo Strozzi exhibition pages:
The Economist, "The Benefits of Early Money-Laundering"
The Wall Street Journal, "For the Love of Money: The Birth of Modern Banking and the Art That Made It Possible"
CNN, "Tracing Renaissance Art to the Birth of Modern Banking"
France 24, "Money and Beauty in Renaissance Florence"
Coins Weekly, "Money and Beauty"

Monday, October 24, 2011

CFP: M6 Business History Workshop

The M6 Business History Group, an informal network of business historians who live and work near the M6 motorway in England, will hold its next workshop on January 26, 2012, at Coventry University. As detailed in the call for papers, the topic is "Firms' Responses to Globalisation in Different Periods of History." Although the workshop will focus on how firms have responded to globalisation, the submission of papers outside of the theme is also encouraged. Presenters from all disciplines are welcome to attend, as are those who work in archives. Those interested in presenting should submit a 200-word abstract to Andrew Smith before December 1, 2011. Those interested in attending should complete and return the booking form, by January 19, 2012. The full call for papers is available here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

OSU eHistory Site Features William Childs on U.S. Energy Policy

Origins is an on-line site for multimedia occasional papers published by the Department of History at Ohio State University. The current featured article, “Energy Policy and the Long Transition in America,” written by OSU professor William R. Childs, will be of interest to business and economic historians. The abstract states:
Energy has been in the news lately: The natural gas industry appears to be developing a world market; the U.S. Army is experimenting with “alternative” and “renewable” energy sources; “green” and “conservation” are being marketed as sound corporate management strategies. A half century ago the emphasis on natural gas, alternative and renewable fuels, and conservation were not in the energy policy mix in the United States. The convergence of historical trends in the 1970s, however, ushered in a “long transition” in American energy policy-making that is on-going. This month historian William R. Childs untangles a few of the many complex strands that make up the history of energy policy in America.
In addition to the text, the article is accompanied by images, maps and charts, and a bibliography, including links to on-line sources; it is also available as a podcast.
   Childs is the author of The Texas Railroad Commission: Understanding Regulation in America to the Mid-Twentieth Century (TAMU Press, 2005), as well as many articles and essays on American and business history. Among other projects, he is currently working on a book on U.S. energy policy.
   Origins is just one project in the group of digital initiatives that make up the OSU eHistory site. Others include multimedia projects, book reviews, primary sources, and a maps and images collection.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

GIS: Viewing U.S. Expansion through Newspapers

Recently we mentioned a GIS site that visualized the growth of the United States through the establishment of post offices. Stanford University's Rural West Initiative provides a similar visualization through the founding of newspapers in its "Journalism's Voyage West." In addition to the primary map, which provides a visual representation of the number and locations of newspapers from 1690 to 2011, the site also includes historical background, an industry analysis, and other data visualizations, including the growth of daily and weekly newspapers, and German- and Spanish-language publications.

Monday, October 17, 2011

CFP: ABH 2012 Meeting

The Association of Business Historians has issued a call for papers for its 2012 meeting, which will be held at the Aston Business School, Birmingham, U.K., on July 6-7, 2012. The theme of the meeting is "Decision-Makers and Decision-Making." As the call for papers states,
Business history has frequently focused on the role of strategy and decision-makers, and its long-term impact on the organisation and its wider environment, both nationally or internationally. Conversely, the potential to make decisions is often limited, and constrained by economic, political and social factors, while recent shocks to the economy have been seen as politicians and business leaders taking the wrong strategic decisions when trying to manage risks.
This gives rise to a number of possible topics, which are detailed in the full call for papers. The ABH will also welcome papers on any topic related to business history, even those that do not focus on the conference theme, and on any time period or country. Proposals are welcome for either individual papers or entire sessions (normally of one-and-a-half hours). Each paper proposal should include a short (one-page) abstract, a list of 3 to 5 keywords, and a brief CV. Proposals for sessions should also include a cover letter containing a session title and a brief description of or rationale for the proposed sessions. The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2012. Proposals should be sent electronically to or by mail to:
Dr. Stephanie Decker
Aston Business School
Aston Triangle
Birmingham B4 7ET
United Kingdom
Questions should be directed to Stephanie Decker, who is serving as the local organizer.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

CFP: Automotive History Conference

The Society of Automotive Historians is seeking proposals for papers to be presented at its Ninth Biennial Automotive History Conference, to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 12-14, 2012. The conference theme is “A World of Cars: Manufacturers, Drivers, and the Impact of Globalization.” It will focus on the international growth of the industry, initially by North American, later by European, and more recently by Asian manufacturers, leading to the dominance of integrated multinational corporations. Please see the full call for papers (scroll down the SAH page) for recommended topics. Proposals should include the title of the submission, names and affiliations of presenters, chairs, and other participants, together with addresses, phone/fax numbers, email addresses of contact personnel, the proposed format (paper, panel, workshop, etc.), and a one-page abstract describing the content of the presentation. Proposals must be received by October 31, 2011. Proposals should be submitted by email to Arthur Jones, conference chair. The meeting will conclude with a dinner and an address by the distinguished economic and business historian Mira Wilkins.

In light of Professor Wilkins' participation, readers may also be interested to learn that Cambridge University Press recently released a new edition (with a new introduction) of her 1964 book (with Frank Ernest Hill), American Business Abroad: Ford on Six Continents (June 2011), in both hardcover and paperback.

Friday, October 14, 2011

CFP: Religious Traditions and Business Behavior

The Center for Financial Policy at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business has issued a call for papers for a "Henry Kaufman Forum on Religious Traditions and Business Behavior," to be held in spring 2013. The forum will explore "two central questions in the relationship between the world’s major religious traditions and the business behavior of adherents to those traditions: First, what do the world’s major organized religious traditions . . . proscribe about business and financial ethics and behavior? Second, how and why have business and financial actors seriously compromised the leading religious traditions of their cultures?"
   The submission deadline for completed papers  is February 1, 2012. Please submit proposed papers as e-mail attachments to Those sending papers should also include a title page with an abstract, names of authors/affiliations, and contact information for the submitting author. Scholars will be invited to participate in two discussion sessions in College Park, Md., prior to the conference. Further instructions will be communicated to the scholars at the time of proposal selection.
   More information, including the complete call for papers, can be found on the Center's website.
   The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business received a $1 million endowment from the Henry & Elaine Kaufman Foundation to support a fellowship in business history, in affiliation with the school’s Center for Financial Policy. Long-time BHC member David Sicilia was appointed the first Henry Kaufman Fellow in Business History, effective July 1, 2010, through 2015.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Steve Jobs and Stanford University Library's Silicon Valley Archives

The Stanford Silicon Valley Archives, under the direction of Henry Lowood, curator for history of science and technology collections in the Stanford University Libraries, and project historian Leslie Berlin, comprises an enormous and growing repository of materials related to the history of Silicon Valley. With the recent passing of Steve Jobs, the Apple collection has become a particular focus of interest, and Lowood and Berlin have produced a YouTube video outlining the Archives related holdings; as they describe it, the Apple content "provides a unique window into the early years of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' career. The collection comprises approximately 600 linear feet of documents, photos, videos, hardware and software, making it the largest assortment of Apple-related materials in the world."

   Other Archives holdings include materials on, for example, Robert Noyce, Fairchild Semiconductor, and Frederick Terman.Those interested in undertaking research in the Archives materials should contact Leslie Berlin.

Hat tip: AHA Today

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Books of Interest: Early Fall Edition

A selection of new and forthcoming books in business and economic history:
Caroline Frank, Objectifying China, Imagining America: Chinese Commodities in Early America (University of Chicago Press, December 2011)

Paul Garner, British Lions and Mexican Eagles: Business, Politics, and Empire in the Career of Weetman Pearson in Mexico, 1889-1919 (Stanford University Press, September 2011)

Robert Gudmestad, Steamboats and the Rise of the Cotton Kingdom (Louisiana State University Press, October 2011)

Barbara Hahn, Making Tobacco Bright: Creating an American Commodity, 1617-1937 (Johns Hopkins University Press, September 2011)

William M. McClenahan, Jr., and William H. Becker, Eisenhower and the Cold War Economy (Johns Hopkins University Press, November 2011)

Matthew Parker, The Sugar Barons: Family, Corruption, Empire, and War in the West Indies (Walker Books, August 2011)

Brian Schoen, The Fragile Fabric of Union: Cotton, Federal Politics, and the Global Origins of the Civil War (Johns Hopkins University Press, September 2011)

James Simpson, Creating Wine: The Emergence of a World Industry, 1840-1914 (Princeton University Press, October 2011)

William G. Thomas, The Iron Way: Railroads, the Civil War, and the Making of Modern America (Yale University Press, September 2011)

Carl Wennerlind, Casualties of Credit: The English Financial Revolution, 1620-1720 (Harvard University Press, November 2011)

Olivier Zunz, Philanthropy in America: A History (Princeton University Press, November 2011)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Program Available for Mathew Carey Conference

"Ireland, America, and the Worlds of Mathew Carey" will take place in Philadelphia, Pa., on October 27-29, 2011, hosted by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Program in Early American Economy and Society, and the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. As the organizers explain, "This is the first part of a trans-Atlantic conference on Mathew Carey (1760-1839) that will take place on two occasions. . . . The second part of this trans-Atlantic conference will be held at Trinity College Dublin, on November 17-19, 2011. It will be hosted by the Centre for Irish-Scottish and Comparative Studies and Trinity College Dublin."
   Carey is of interest to business and economic historians because, again in the words of the organizers,
By the mid-1790s, Mathew Carey had transformed himself from printer to publisher, from artisan to manufacturer, becoming the most important American book publisher of the early national period. Carey's identity as an Irish-American and a Catholic, and his contributions to economics and politics are inseparable from the trans-Atlantic print culture of the early national era.
The program for the October meeting has now been posted, including links to the full text of papers.
   The conference is free, but registration is required. Details are available on the conference website.
   The preliminary program for the second part of the conference in Dublin is available on Sarah Crider Arndt's Print on the Periphery blog.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Chinese Business History: New Literature Review

Morris L. Bian of Auburn University has recently published a review of the literature on modern Chinese business history, 1978-2008, entitled "Interpreting Enterprise, State, and Society." The article appears in the September 2011 issue of Frontiers of History in China (full viewing requires a subscription or access through a subscribing institution). According to the abstract:
This article offers a critical review of literature in the area of modern Chinese business history from 1978 to 2008.  It focuses on four interconnected topics: (1) the evolution of industrial capitalism, (2) the adoption of corporate hierarchies and/or social networks, (3) the change of financial institutions and monetary system, and (4) the development of state-owned industries and the formation of the (central) state enterprise system.  The review reveals not only significant growth of the field of modern Chinese business history over the last three decades but also the existence of major gaps. The article concludes by considering the implications of its findings for understanding the political economy of business enterprises and enterprise systems in different national and historical contexts.

   Bian is the author of The Making of the State Enterprise System in Modern China (Harvard University Press, 2005), and he is the recipient of the BHC's Newcomen Article Award (now the Oxford Journals Article Prize) for his essay, "The Sino-Japanese War and the Formation of the State Enterprise System in China: A Case Study of the Dadakou Iron and Steel Works, 1938-1945," published in the 2002 issue of Enterprise & Society

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rovensky Fellowship 2012-2013 Applications Available

Applicants are sought for up to two $10,000 fellowships for doctoral thesis research in U.S. business or economic history. These fellowships are available largely through the generosity of the late John E. Rovensky. The Rovensky Fellowship program is administered by the University of Illinois Foundation.
   Applicants must be working toward a Ph.D. degree with U.S. business or economic history as the area of major interest. Fellowship recipients must be enrolled in a doctoral program at an accredited college or university in the United States. Preference will be given to applicants who are preparing for a career in teaching and research and who will have completed all graduate course work prior to the fall of 2012. Awards are non-renewable and may not be taken simultaneously with an Economic History Association graduate dissertation fellowship.
    Application forms may be found on the Web at; the full announcement is at
    Inquiries may be directed to:
William J. Hausman, Department of Economics, Box 8795, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795.
   Completed applications for the fellowship must be received no later than Monday, February 13, 2012.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Regional Workshops and Seminars of Interest

As the new academic year begins, we again 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 2011 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 Unit Seminars, LSE
Business History @ Erasmus Seminars
Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society (Hagley) Research Seminars
Centre for Macroeconomics and the Historical Record (MEHR), University of Copenhagen
Columbia University Seminar in Economic History
Core Seminar in Economic and Social History, University of Cambridge
Economic and Social History of the Premodern World, IHR, University of London
Financial History Seminar Series, Stern School, NYU
George Mason Economic History Workshop
Harvard Economic History Workshop
History and Economics Seminar, Harvard University
Institute for Economic and Business History Research, Stockholm
Northwestern Workshop in Economic History
Paris School of Economics, Economic History Seminar
PEAES Fellows Colloquium and Seminars, Library Company of Philadelphia
Penn Economic History Forum
Program on the Study of Capitalism, Harvard University
University of Arizona Economic History Workshop (listed among all Econ Dept. seminars)
Vanderbilt University Economic History Workshop
Von Gremp Workshop in Economic and Entrepreneurial History, UCLA
Washington (D.C.) Area Economic History Seminar Winton Institute for Monetary History Seminar, University of Oxford
Workshop on the Cultural History of Capitalism, University of Georgia
Yale Economic History Workshop