Sunday, November 27, 2011

Columbia University Business History Forum This Tuesday

Readers in or near New York City will be interested in the Columbia University Business History Forum's November 29 meeting, which will be a symposium on Capitalism Takes Command: The Social Transformation of Nineteenth-Century America (Chicago, 2011 [but out in January 2012]), edited by Michael Zakim and Gary J. Kornblith.
   The symposium will meet from 6:30 to 8:00 pm, in Room 523, Butler Library, Columbia University, and will be followed by a reception. The meeting, which is open to the public, is sponsored by the Columbia Rare Book and Manuscript Library; the Herbert H. Lehman Center for American  History; and the History Department at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College.
   Capitalism Takes Command presents original histories of the commercialization of farming, the creation of a national mortgage market, the collateralization of slaves, the invention of office systems, and more—an inventory of means by which capitalism became America's new revolutionary tradition. This collection of essays argues that capitalism's effects reached far beyond the purview of the economy. As business ceaselessly revised its own practices, a new demographic of private bankers, insurance brokers, investors in securities, and young clerks hoping to make partner, among many others, assumed center stage, displacing older elites and forms of property. Explaining how capital became an "ism" and how business became a social philosophy, Capitalism Takes Command brings the economy back into the mainstream of American history.
   In addition to essays by the speakers below, the book contains contributions from Amy Dru Stanley, Robert Wright, Tamara Plakins Thornton, Jeffrey Sklansky, and Sean Patrick Adams.
   The program consists of:
"Capitalism:  An American Revolutionary Tradition," Michael Zakim (Tel Aviv)

"Toxic Debt, Liar Loans, Collateralized and Securitized Human Beings, and the Panic of 1837," Edward Baptist (Cornell)

"Inheriting Property and Debt: From Family Security to Corporate Accumulation," Elizabeth Blackmar (Columbia)

"The Mortgage Worked the Hardest: The Fate of Landed Independence in Nineteenth-Century America," Jonathan Levy (Princeton)
For further information please email Eric Wakin; if you wish to attend please email