Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Around the Blogosphere: Recent Posts of Interest

A round-up of some recent blog posts, including some from sites not specifically focused on business and economic history:

Monday, October 28, 2013

In the News: 100th Anniversary of Ford's Moving Assembly Line

Ford assembly line, c. 1913 (Detroit Public Library, Item number EB01a026)
October 7, 2013, marked the one hundredth anniversary of the moving assembly line at Ford's plant in Highland Park, Michigan. The occasion generated a good deal of media commentary; the links below provide a sample.

Game Changer: Ford Celebrates (Ford Motor Company)
Ford's Assembly Line Turns 100 (NY Daily News)
Ford's Assembly Line Turns 100 (Car and Driver)
Henry Ford's Assembly Line Turns 100 ("Here and Now" [NPR])
Henry Ford's Assembly Line (CBS News)
Video of the line:
The Ford Model T Assembly Line (1919)
The Ford Model T
Ford's Moving Assembly Line (a History Day student documentary)
100 Years of the Moving Assembly Line (Ford video)
How Ford's Assembly Line Has Changed (Bloomberg)
Photos and Video (Business Insider)

Friday, October 25, 2013

CFPs: Two Journal Special Issues of Interest

The Journal of Historical Research in Marketing (JHRM) has issued a call for papers for a special issue on "Marketing History from Below: Bringing the Consumer Back In," to be guest edited by Stefan Schwarzkopf. The call states,
Although marketing scholarship frequently asserts that marketing strategy begins and ends with consumers, most marketing historical work still focuses on firms, brands, products, advertising, packaging, government institutions, and the history of marketing thought. Marketing historiography thus extends the perspective of those who market, as opposed to the voice and influence of those who are being marketed to. What's more, despite the recent acknowledgement that consumers are very active in the creation of value in marketing, very little historical scholarship exists that shows how this value creation by consumers was actually shaped. This special issue attempts to address this hiatus and asks what historical research in marketing can contribute to shed light on the cultural-economic spaces that lie beyond the realm of firm activities, that is, the spaces populated by consumer communities, social experiences, political resistances, and consumer-led alternatives that make up the market.
For submission instructions and a more detailed explanation of the special issue theme, please see the call for papers on the JHRM website. The submission deadline for this special issue is September 1, 2014 with an expected publication date of August 2015.

The journal Business History will publish a special issue on the topic, "Towards a Narrative Turn in Business History"; guest editors will be Mads Mordhorst and Stefan Schwarzkopf, both of Copenhagen Business School. Because the call for papers is not yet posted on the journal website, we provide the full text here:
During the last two decades, narratives and narrative theory have gained influence at Business Schools in fields such as management studies, marketing, and organizational studies to such a degree that some scholars have framed these new perspectives as a distinctive ‘narrative turn.’  Scholars in these subfields of the business and management research community have used narrative theories and narratological concepts as analytical tools to discover who constructs narratives, in what ways, for what purpose, and how these narratives then influence sense-making and strategizing in organizations and markets. Furthermore, narratives and other linguistic entities, like metaphors and modes of storytelling, have been analyzed for their uses as performative tools by managers and other drivers of organizational change. In other words, what started as a mode of critical investigation turned into a managerial tool focused on the status quo, as scholars began to focus on how organizational change can be ‘managed’ through changes in organizational narratives. Despite the boom in research on narratives in organization theory, economics, marketing theory, and management studies, associated with scholars like David Boje, Barbara Czarniawska, Deidre McCloskey, Barbara Stern, Melanie Bryant, Andrew Brown and many others, this research has so far made only limited inroads into the business history community. Business and management scholars who engage with these questions often ignore that ‘history’, both in the etymological and the disciplinary sense, is born with an inherent tension between ‘history’ as past and ‘history’ as narrative. This ambiguity means that the field, from Herodotus to Leopold von Ranke and Hayden White, is forever engulfed in discussions about the narrative character of the discipline and its scholarly products. This, in turn, means that business historians should be in a position from where it is possible to bridge and negotiate the recent approaches in business and management studies on the one side and the practices of archival research and historiographical representation on the other. Different attempts to engage in a conversation about the fruitful tension between these two research traditions have been made recently, amongst others by Stephanie Decker, Per Hansen, Mads Mordhorst, Andrew Popp, and Mick Rowlinson. The purpose of the special issue is to intensify these discussions.
The guest editors encourage submissions that engage with the following problems and questions:
  • Narratives and narrative structures (narratology) as a method for business historians.
  • Narratives and the construction of shared memories in organizations in the past and present.
  • Narratives constructed by professions and academic fields (accounting, marketing, strategy).
  • The potential uses of Oral History methods in business history.
  • Storytelling vs. business history: do business historians create narratives, and in what ways?
  • What metaphors do business historians rely on and construct? Are business historical models metaphors?
  • The ‘Narrative turn’ in organizational theory, management and marketing studies: how can business historians engage with and contribute to this challenge?
The deadline for receipt of papers is October 1, 2014, with publication planned for spring 2015. Only full papers will be considered. Papers should be sent to both guest editors, Mads Mordhorst ( Stefan Schwarzkopf ( Please do not submit the contribution through the journal's Manuscript Central site, but do see the journal website for style guidelines:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Deadline Reminder: GHI Fellowships in Business and Economic History

The German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C., offers three fellowships of interest to business historians:

Fellowship in the History of Consumption and Fellowship in Economic and Social History: both are 6- to 12-month fellowships for research on the respective topic. Each recipient should take up the fellowship on September 1, 2014. Preference is given to applicants on the postdoctoral level. Fellows are expected to be in residence at the GHI and participate in GHI activities and events, including planning a workshop on the fellowship's focus. Fellows will have the opportunity to make use of the resources in the Washington, DC area, including the Library of Congress and the National Archives, while pursuing their own research agenda. The monthly stipend is Euro 3,000 for EU citizens and $3,200 for US citizens. In addition, fellowship recipients based in Europe will receive reimbursement for their round-trip airfare to the United States.

Doctoral Fellowship in International Business History: a 6- to 12-month fellowship with a term beginning September 1, 2014. Preference will be given to fellows whose projects fit into the GHI's research foci on transatlantic relations and the history of consumption. Comparative work is also strongly encouraged. The fellow will be expected to be in residence at the GHI and participate in GHI activities and events. The fellow will have the opportunity to make use of the resources in the Washington, DC, area, including the Library of Congress and the National Archives, while pursuing his or her own research agenda. Travel within the US to work in archives and libraries will also be possible. The monthly stipend is Euro 1,700 for doctoral students from European institutions; students based at North American institutions will receive a stipend of $1,900. In addition, fellowship recipients based in Europe will receive reimbursement for their round-trip airfare to the United States.

The deadline for all of these fellowships is November 15, 2013. For specific requirements and submission procedures, please visit the fellowship pages linked above. Questions about these fellowships may be directed to Dr. Uwe Spiekermann at

Monday, October 21, 2013

CFP: Social History of Money and Credit

The Richard Robinson Business History Workshop at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, will host a meeting on "The Social History of Money and Credit" on May 22-24, 2014. The organizers are interested in papers that engage the meanings and uses of financial instruments in daily life as well as in the popular imagination. Papers concerning the social history of money and credit in non-Western contexts are particularly encouraged. Submissions from all disciplines are welcome as long as topics are addressed historically. For a list of suggested topics, please see the full call for papers.

Those interested in presenting should submit a one-page paper abstract and CV to the workshop coordinators Erika Vause (Saint Xavier University), Thomas Luckett (Portland State University), or Chia Yin Hsu (Portland State University) at by December 6, 2013.

Accepted papers will be pre-circulated and discussed in plenary sessions on May 23 and May 24. There will also be a public keynote address on the evening of May 22. Funding is available to cover hotel expenses and partial travel reimbursements for up to about ten participants. There will be no registration fee.

Friday, October 18, 2013

CFP: Armageddon and Mammon

The summer of 2014 marks the centenary of the start of the First World War. On July 10-11, 2014, a workshop entitled "Armageddon and Mammon" will consider the war’s impact on international business. It will take place in the City of London at East India House. As the organizers explain,
The First World War had a dramatic and immediate impact on international business, particularly the financial services sector, but the impact quickly spread to other sectors as international trade and investment were disrupted. As the war progressed, the integrated world economy that had emerged during the first great era of globalization disintegrated and liberal assumptions and practices were discarded. The realities of the total war shattered the assumption that it would be “business as usual.” The disruption of international supply chains by the war created threats and opportunities for firms in many countries. The seizure of patents, factories, and other assets in belligerent countries created complex legal issues that lasted for decades. The war challenged the ascendancy of British international business and capital, opening the way for rivals from newly industrialising countries to compete in markets around the world. The impact of the war on international business lasted long after the fighting stopped, due in part to the nature of the peace settlement dictated by the victorious allies, the growth of institutions of global governance, and changes to the international political economy. In particular, the transfer of financial power from the City of London to Wall Street was not matched by a corresponding increase in the willingness of the United States to guarantee the political underpinnings of an integrated global economy. In turn, this change spurred organizational innovation and change among international firms as they adapted their strategies and structures to a changed business environment.
Workshop organizers are seeking contributors who are interested in presenting their research at the workshop and publishing their papers as part of an edited collection. Contributors can be of any nationality and can be from any discipline, although organizers expect that all papers will focus on the impact of the war on international business, will be based on original research, and will expressly engage with and seek to develop historiography and/or reflect on relevant business and management theory.

Proposals, in the form of a 300-word paper abstract plus a short CV, should be sent to Andrew Smith, by December 1, 2013.

For a more detailed call for papers and additional information, please see the full conference announcement.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

2014-2015 Fellowship Applications: “Capital and Commodities”

"The Tulip Folly," 1882. Artist Jean-Léon Gérôme
The Institute for Historical Studies (IHS) at the University of Texas at Austin expects to appoint four resident fellows for 2014-2015 whose work engages with the year's theme, "Capital and Commodities." Fellowships are available for all ranks. They are not restricted to historians, but projects must have significant historical content. According to the call for applicants:
The co-development of financial and ecological crises, the global proliferation of mass consumerism, and ongoing social and military conflicts over access to natural resources suggest the critical importance of historicizing the study of capital and commodities. Indeed, over the last several decades, historians have compiled an impressive body of work on the history of commodities and their production, circulation, uses, and cultural significance. Research into commodity chains has forced historians to consider questions of social identity formation and has invigorated analysis of systems of communication and representation. Historical studies have also revealed the impact of commodity production and consumption on natural landscapes and sociopolitical formations. Recent globalized economic crises have further helped focus scholarly attention on how commodity exchange and capital creation involve the conjunctural dimensions of history: credit booms and debt crises, cycles of inflation and deflation, economic growth (and its intellectual constructions) and limits to growth. In this vein, the Institute encourages analytical approaches that underscore the sociocultural, political, environmental, and intellectual underpinnings of the history of capital and commodities. Proposals that encompass broad timespans (including the medieval and early modern periods) and that reach across geographic areas and disciplinary boundaries are particularly encouraged.
The application deadline is January 15, 2014. For more information about the Institute's fellowship and application process, please visit:; queries should be directed to

Monday, October 14, 2013

Business History Publishes Special Issue on Family Business

The current issue (No. 6, 2013) of Business History is a special issue on "Long-Term Perspectives on Family Business." As guest editors Andrea Colli, Carole Howorth, and Mary Rose write, "for a long time business history and family business studies have developed on parallel tracks that have rarely crossed. . . . This special issue arose . . . with the aim of promoting an increased dialogue between business history and family business researchers." Contents include:
Hartmut Berghoff, "Blending personal and managerial capitalism: Bertelsmann's rise from medium-sized publisher to global media corporation and service provider, 1950–2010"
Geoffrey Tweedale, "Backstreet capitalism: An analysis of the family firm in the nineteenth-century Sheffield cutlery industry"
Robin Holt and Andrew Popp, "Emotion, succession, and the family firm: Josiah Wedgwood & Sons"
Oswald Jones, Abby Ghobadian, Nicolas O'Regan, and Valerie Antcliff, "Dynamic capabilities in a sixth-generation family firm: Entrepreneurship and the Bibby Line"
Nicolas Antheaume, Paulette Robic, and Dominique Barbelivien, "French family business and longevity: Have they been conducting sustainable development policies before it became a fashion?"
Neil Forbes, "Family banking in an era of crisis: N. M. Rothschild & Sons and business in central and eastern Europe between the World Wars"
Stéphanie Ginalski, "Can families resist managerial and financial revolutions? Swiss family firms in the twentieth century"
Christof Dejung, "Worldwide ties: The role of family business in global trade in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries"
Marta Rey-Garcia and Nuria Puig Raposo, "Globalisation and the organisation of family philanthropy: A case of isomorphism?"
Although access to the full text of the articles requires a subscription, abstracts may be viewed by all on the journal website.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Historians Weigh In on the Debt Ceiling and U.S. Default Concerns

As the U.S. federal shutdown continues and the default deadline grows closer, a number of historians have commented on the situation. Here is a sampling of links:

Richard Sylla, interview for the History News Network (HNN)
Louis Hyman and Stephen Mihm, among others, quoted on the default possibility at HNN
Sean Wilentz on "Obama and the Debt," in the October 7 New York Times
Daniel Yergin, on NPR's "Morning Edition," October 9
Alice Rivlin, at Brookings
Niall Ferguson, in the October 4 Wall Street Journal
Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff's work on prior defaults, cited in Economix Blog, October 4, New York Times
Julian Zelizer, on past government shutdowns, October 1, NPR's "Here and Now"
Stephen Mihm, at Bloomberg, on an analogy with the Nullification Crisis, and again here, on the rift between the Republican Party and Business on the shutdown issue
 HNN has also compiled a list of links to recent commentary (not necessarily by historians, but referring to history)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Conference: “Russian, Soviet, and Post-Soviet Economic History”

The Program in Economic History at Yale is hosting a conference entitled "Russian, Soviet, and Post-Soviet Economic History: New Frontiers" on November 1-2, 2013, at 28 Hillhouse Avenue, Tobin Lounge, Yale University. The conference is co-organized by Timothy Guinnane (Yale) and Steven Nafziger (Williams College).

The conference begins on Friday, November 1, at 2 p.m. and ends at 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 2. The conference program is available at All papers will be posted online so that all attending can read them in advance. Presentations will be limited to 10 minutes, and session time will be devoted almost exclusively to discussion.

All are welcome to attend the conference and take part in the discussion. Attendees not on the program are asked to contact Steven Nafziger(, so that organizers will know how many people to expect.

Monday, October 7, 2013

CFP: Association of Business Historians 2014

Newcastle University Business School
The Association of Business Historians will hold its next annual meeting on June 27-28, 2014, at the Newcastle University Business School. The theme of the meeting will be "Crisis, Accountability, and Institutions." The call for papers states:
The global financial crisis which began in 2007 was the most severe since the Great Depression. In the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis and the global recession that followed, questions have been raised concerning issues of accountability and governance in international financial institutions, investment banks, credit rating agencies, and amongst top management teams. To reflect the zeitgeist, we welcome in particular papers that are framed around the historical theme of: accounting for crisis; escalation/de-escalation of a crisis; organisational/ industry decline and failure; strategic responses/turnaround strategies; the social consequences of a crisis; labour’s response to a crisis; accountability of decision-makers; accountability and elites; institutional arrangements; regulation of institutions; governance systems; governance and reform of institutions; strategy and governance within national/international organisations; strategy and the media. 
The conference committee welcomes proposals for individual papers or complete research tracks of 90 minutes in length. Each individual paper proposal should include a short abstract, a list of 3 to 5 key words, and a brief CV of the presenter. Proposals for research tracks should include a cover letter containing a session title and the rationale for the research track. The conference organizers also welcome research papers on any topic related to business history outside the conference theme.

Questions and proposals should be directed to Tom McGovern at: Proposals may also be submitted by post to: Tom McGovern, Newcastle University Business School, 5 Barrack Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4SE, United Kingdom. The deadline for submissions is February 21, 2014.

For additional information, please see the ABH conference website.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Reminder: Deadline for BHC Doctoral Colloquium Applications Approaching

The Oxford Journals Doctoral Colloquium in Business History will be held in conjunction with the Business History Conference 2014 annual meeting in Frankfurt, Germany. This prestigious workshop, sponsored by the BHC and funded by the Journals Division of Oxford University Press, will take place in Frankfurt on Wednesday, March 12 and Thursday, March 13, 2014. The colloquium is limited to ten students. Participants work intensively with a distinguished group of BHC-affiliated scholars that includes at least two BHC officers. The colloquium will discuss dissertation proposals, relevant literatures and research strategies, and employment opportunities in business history. This colloquium is intended for doctoral candidates in the early stages of their dissertation projects. If you are interested in being considered for this colloquium, please submit by November 15, 2013, to a statement of interest, a CV, a preliminary or final dissertation prospectus of 10-15 pages, and a letter of support from your dissertation supervisor (or prospective supervisor). Questions about the colloquium should be sent to its director, Pamela Laird, 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 December 15, 2013.
     For general information about the Colloquium, please see

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

2014 AHA Program Available On-Line

The program for the 2014 American Historical Association meeting, to be held in Washington, D.C., on January 2-5, 2014, is now available on-line.  The program entry site allows searching by keyword as well as the standard daily listing; one can also find BHC-sponsored sessions under the affiliated societies section.
    The BHC-sponsored program items are:
Session 22: "Public Interest, Private Profit: Business, Government, and the Civic Good,"chaired by Richard R. John
Session 55: "Commerce and Knowledge in the Seventeenth Century," chaired by Martha C. Howell
Session 99: "The U.S. 1880–1920: Turning Point or More of the Same?" chaired by Steven H. Hahn
Session 231: "Wine, Drinking, and Identity," chaired by Uwe Spiekermann
Business History Conference Luncheon: "Is the History of Capitalism the New Business History?" chaired by Richard R. John and featuring Louis Galambos, Jonathan Levy, Sven Beckert, and Pamela Laird
In addition to the sessions and luncheon sponsored by the BHC, many other sessions will be of interest to business and economic historians.  A sampling includes:
Session 18: "Networks of Knowledge in the Early Modern Mediterranean," chaired by Anthony Grafton
Session 61: "Institutions of Trade in the Iberian Atlantic World," chaired by Jeremy Baskes
Session 65: "New Directions on the Twentieth-Century Chinese Economy," chaired by Naomi Lamoreaux
Session 117: "Panic: Financial Crises over Space and Time," chaired by Francesca Trivellato
Session 134: "Black Capitalism and Self Help in the Era of Richard Nixon: Black Power Alternatives from Grassroots Activists to the White House," chaired by Robert Weems
Session 166: "Envisioning Capitalist Development in the Countryside: Perspectives from Latin America, Asia, and the United States," chaired by Amy Offner
Session 167: "Food Commodities in Wartime: Soy, Wheat, Sugar, and U.S. Global Power in the Twentieth Century," chaired by Deborah Fitzgerald
Session 225: "The Industry of Empire: Markets, Workers, and Environments across North America’s Pacific Rim," chaired by Kathleen Anne Brosnan
Many individual papers also feature topics related to the field; a sampling:
Session 7: Marc V. Eagle, "Smugglers in the Seventeenth-Century Caribbean: 'Forced Arrivals' in Santo Domingo"
Session 49: David Walker Gilbert, "The Cultural Turn and the Long Movement: Black Identities and Class in Market Spaces"
Session 49: Brenna Wynn Greer, "Moving Beyond Saints and Martyrs: Post-World War II Black Capitalists and Their Civil Rights Work"
Session 69: Martin Collins, "The Market and the Military: Satellite Telephony and Entanglements of the Global in the 1990s"
Session 124: Susana Romero, "Bankers, Reformers, and Intellectuals Debating Modernity: The Origins of National Housing Policies in Colombia in the Aftermath of the Great Depression"
Session 126: Mitchell Larson, "Bringing Study Abroad Back Home: The Struggle to Adapt Management Education into British Universities in the 1960s"
Session 202: Christopher Magra, "The Limits of Empire in Eighteenth-Century Massachusetts"
Session 222: Christy Ford Chapin, "Ensuring America’s Health: How Insurance Companies Came to Govern U.S. Health Care"
Poster sessions of interest include:
Drew Keeling, "Pre-1914 Migration from Europe to the United States as a Travel Business"
Kathryn Tomasek, "Making Big Data: Historical Financial Records"
[Note that at the time of this posting, the program link on the AHA site is not yet active, and the 2010 meeting logo appears, but the information does in fact pertain to the 2014 program.]