Friday, May 30, 2014

EBHA Registration and Meeting Schedule Now Available

The European Business History Association (EBHA) will hold its next annual congress in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on August 21-23, 2014. The theme will be "Comparative Business History: Contrasting Regions, Sectors, and Centuries." Registration for the meeting is now open. Those interested can also find information about the preliminary schedule, keynote speakers, lodging, and other details on the Congress website.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

More on Economic History and GIS

illustration from Atack essay, railroads in 1840
In his presidential address before the Economic History Association, published in the June 2013 issue of the Journal of Economic History and freely available on-line here, Jeremy Atack described in detail his ongoing efforts to use Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques to create a transportation database for the United States. The essay is also featured in the blog of the Southwestern University GIS Laboratory. We have in the past on The Exchange provided links to projects using historical GIS for topics in economic and business history (see here, for example). Atack's address encourages us to feature more historical GIS examples:
"Visualizing Ocean Shipping" and American whaling, both by Ben Schmidt on his blog, "Sapping Attention"
"Visualizing US Expansion through Post Offices," Derek Watkins
"Locating London's Past"
Atlas of the Rhode Island Book Trade in the 18th Century
"History on the Move," Shane Hamilton
"Slave Revolt in Jamaica," Harvard University, Vincent Brown
Mapping History, University of Oregon
China Historical GIS, Harvard University
The Occupational Structure of Britain, 1379-1911
Spatial History Project, Stanford University (now much enlarged)
See also an article by Daniel Hopkins, Philip Morgan, and  Justin Roberts in Historical Geography (2011) (on-line), "The Application of GIS to the Reconstruction of the Slave-Plantation Economy of St. Croix, Danish West Indies."

Monday, May 26, 2014

On Thomas Piketty's Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century

Thomas Piketty's Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century (Harvard University Press, 2014; Seuil, 2013) has garnered considerably more publicity than the average 700-page academic tome. It would be impossible to list all of the sites by and about Piketty since his book appeared in English last month; herewith a sampling of reviews, commentary, and author presentations to date:
"Six Ways Thomas Piketty's 'Capital' Isn't Holding Up to Scrutiny," Forbes
"Piketty's 'Capital,' in a Lot Less Than 896 Pages," HBR Blog Network
"The Piketty Bubble Is More Than Hot Air," New Yorker
Robert M. Solow, "Thomas Piketty Is Right," New Republic
Paul Krugman, "Why We're in a New Gilded Age," New York Review of Books
"A Modern Marx," The Economist
"Thomas Piketty and Millennial Marxists on the Scourge of Inequality," The Nation
Thomas Edsall, "Capitalism vs. Democracy," International New York Times
"Taking on Adam Smith (and Karl Marx)," profile of Piketty, International New York Times
"Q&A: Thomas Piketty on the Wealth Divide," Economix Blog, International New York Times 
"Thomas Piketty, the French Economist Bringing Capitalism to Book," Guardian Economics Blog
Piketty, "Save Capitalism from the Capitalists by Taxing Wealth," Financial Times
Tyler Cowan, "Capital Punishment: Why a Global Tax on Wealth Won't End Inequality," Foreign Affairs
James K. Galbraith, "Kapital for the Twenty-First Century?" Dissent
"Studying the Rich: Thomas Piketty and His Critics," Boston Review
"Piketty vs. Mankiw on Economic Challenges and Inequality," "On Point," NPR
Lawrence Summers, "Thomas Piketty Is Right about the Past and Wrong about the Future," The Atlantic
Chris Giles, "Data Problems with Capital in the 21st Century," Financial Times, and
Piketty's Response
On YouTube (there are dozens; just search for Piketty):
"Capital in the Twenty-First Century," Graduate Center, CUNY
Piketty interviewed on "Newsnight" (BBC)
"Inequality in America: The 1% in International and Historical Perspective," Columbia University Maison Francaise (in 2012)
Piketty on CNNMoney
Piketty speaking at the University of Pennsylvania Social Science Policy Forum (2012)
In addition, readers might want to consult Piketty's own list of his on-line lectures and presentations (several predating the book).
     For a different compilation of commentary on Piketty's work, see the Harvard University Press website. The book's technical appendix (additional charts and tables, sources, bibliography, and statistical series) is available on-line.

Friday, May 23, 2014

CFP: “Port Cities in the Early Modern World”

Norfolk, Va., Harbor, c.1891 (Library of Congress)
A conference on "Port Cities in the Early Modern World, 1500-1800," will be held on November 5-7, 2015, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, co-sponsored by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies (MCEAS), the Program in Early American Economy and Society (PEAES), and Temple University. The call for papers states:
In the early modern period, advances in maritime technology redrew theglobal map--not only through the "discovery" of new worlds, but by reorienting patterns of commerce and migration to transform what had been peripheries into vital nodes of exchange, power, and culture. Port cities rose to occupy a critical space, mediating between their own hinterlands and an oceanic world of circulation and exchange.  Highly local institutions and networks influenced and reacted to global networks and the movements of people, goods, fashions, ideas, and pathogens. This conference will explore comparisons and connections among ports in the age of sail. Through broadly comparative papers and revealing case studies this conference provides a forum to explore comparisons and contrasts, diversity and congruence, competition and emulation, among far-flung port cities on a global scale. Among the topics the organizers hope to explore are socio-political organization, economic and labor patterns, and cultural productions.
    Proposals are welcome from scholars at all stages of their careers. Committed participants include Christopher Hodson, Richard Kagan, Willem Klooster, Christian Koot, Kris Lane, Ty Reese, Philip Stern, and David Wheat.
    Paper proposals should include an abstract of no more than 500 words and a one-page curriculum vita. Papers, which will be pre-circulated, should be approximately 7,500 words in length.  Please e-mail paper proposals to by September 15, 2014.  All queries should be sent to the conference organizer, Jessica Choppin Roney ( The program committee will reply by December 2014.
    Some support for travel and lodging expenses will be available for paper presenters.

Note: Those interested in this conference might also wish to view the program of the World History Association Symposium on "Port Cities in World History," held in Barcelona on March 26-28, 2014. The website contains abstracts of all the papers presented.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Program Available: Association of Business Historians Meeting

The Association of Business Historians (ABH) 2014 annual meeting will be held at the Newcastle University Business School on June 27-28; the theme of the meeting is "Crisis, Accountability, and Institutions." The provisional program is now available for downloading. The keynote address, on "Institutions and History: The Historic Turn in Management Theory," will be delivered by Roy Suddaby of the University of Alberta and editor of the Academy of Management Review. The meeting will close with a roundtable on "Rethinking Business History? Between Economic History and Organisational History."
    For more information about registration and accommodations, please see the ABH meeting website.

Monday, May 19, 2014

EBHS 2014 Meeting Preliminary Program Available

detail, "Manchester from Kersal Moor," William Wyld
The Economic and Business History Society (EBHS) will hold its next annual meeting on May 29-31, 2014, at Chancellor’s Hotel and Conference Centre in Manchester, UK. The preliminary program and other details about the meeting have now been posted. Highlights include a keynote address by Leslie Hannah, "Where Did the 'Anglo-American' Corporate Model Come From and Can It Survive the Global Financial Crisis?" and a roundtable on"Giving 'em the Business: The Intersection of Economics and the Humanities." For more detailed information, please see the conference website.

Friday, May 16, 2014

CFP: "Capitalism & Socialism," New Harmony, Indiana

New Harmony, Indiana–home of well-known communalist experiments–will host a conference on “Capitalism & Socialism: Utopia, Globalization, and Revolution” on November 6-8, 2014. The conference coincides with the bicentennial of New Harmony’s founding by German Harmonists in 1814. New Harmony is probably best known as the site of industrialist Robert Owen’s experiment in communal living in 1825.  “Capitalism & Socialism” is a multidisciplinary conference that welcomes presenters from economics, history, political science, and sociology, as well as the humanities; both panels and individual papers may be proposed on topics related to capitalism and socialism, past and present. Proposals are due by May 26, 2014. For more details and submission forms, please see the conference website. Questions may be addressed to Casey Harison, Director of Communal Studies, University of Southern Indiana,

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

HBS June Conference Program and Registration Available

The Business History Initiative at Harvard Business School is hosting a conference on June 13-14, 2014: "Business History in Africa, Asia, and Latin America: Integrating Course Development and New Research." The aim of the conference is to
leverage existing expertise about the field from countries where it is more established, as well as the experience of other disciplines, including world history and international business. Topics to be discussed include how to integrate the latest research into teaching materials; new and innovative pedagogical methods, including web-based learning and the use of oral history; the availability of primary sources; and the different interests and requirements of students in business schools, history departments, and in graduate programs.
The program has now been posted.
     Registration is available on-line, with a deadline of May 31, 2014. The conference is open to educators, graduate students, and other academics with an interest in the subject. For additional details, please see the conference website.

Monday, May 12, 2014

“Cultural History of Money and Credit” Program Now Available

The Richard Robinson Business History Workshop at Portland State University will hold a three-day conference on "The Cultural History of Money and Credit" on May 22-24, 2014. The program is now available on the PSU website. The meeting begins Thursday evening with a keynote address by Mark Metzler of the University of Texas at Austin: "Recurring Debt Crises and the Contours of Global History," followed by three sessions on both Friday and Saturday.The conference is co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Friends of History. For more information, please contact

Friday, May 9, 2014

Business and Economic History at the 2014 "Big Berks"

The Sixteenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women will be held at the University of Toronto, Canada, on May 22-25, 2014; the conference theme is "Histories on the Edge." The final program is now available. Of particular interest to business and economic historians will be
Session 22P: "Working Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe and the British Atlantic"
Session 28RT: A roundtable on women in science featuring Margaret Rossiter and Ruth Schwartz Cowan
Session 39RT: "Gendering Bodies in Employment and Legal History"
Session 48P: "On the Edges of Trade: Women, Commerce, and Space in the 18th-Century Anglo-Atlantic World"
Session 74RT: "Women and Gendered Labour History"
Session 80RT: "Domestic Work on the Edge: Transnational Labour, Global Research"
Session 83RT: "Gendering and Queering the Corporate Person"
Session 92P: "Things of the Edge: Materiality and Early Modern Trade Routes"
Session 140P: "Gender and Economic Power in Three African Contexts"
Session 168P: "Women's Labours and the Global Production of Consumer Culture in the 20th Century"
Session 215W: Gender and the Urban Economy in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe"
Many individual papers--on slavery, trafficking, material culture, migration, domestic service, women's legal rights--may also be of interest. Registration information is available on the conference website; on-line registration closes May 14.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

CFP: BHC-EBHA Joint Annual Meeting 2015

The 2015 joint meeting of the Business History Conference and the European Business History Association will be held in Miami, Florida, on June 24-27. The theme of the meeting will be “Inequalities: Winners and Losers in Business.” In the call for papers, the Program Committee
challenges business historians of all stripes to historicize the economic, political, cultural, and social processes by which inequality has taken hold, ebbing and flowing over time. Business is central to those processes. The very word "inequality" suggests injustice and unfairness, subjugation and lack of opportunity. But in fact, there are many different inequalities, and their historical significance depends upon how societies have regarded and valued difference. . . . By inviting a broad historical exploration of the many inequalities that affected and have been affected by business, both positively and negatively, the conference hopes to illuminate more clearly the complexities involved in distinguishing winners from losers. 
For more details, please see the full call for papers.The deadline for receipt of all proposals is October 15, 2014.

Monday, May 5, 2014

CFP: “Networking East and West: Communications, Commerce, Culture”

For many centuries, the East and the West have been entangled in dense networks of communications and commerce. Yet only in our current age of globalization, influenced by a generation of media theorists shaped by the emergence since the 1970s of digital media, has it become customary to interpret these networks as a distinctive social relationship with a pervasive and enduring influence on culture, economics, politics, and international relations. For these theorists, media is more than a representation: in addition, and more fundamentally, it is an institutional practice laden with cultural meaning.
     Media scholars in Asia, Europe, Australia, and North America from disciplines that include but are not confined to history, sociology, political science, literature, anthropology, geography, and media studies share a commitment to increasing our understanding of these networks so as to enhance mutual understanding, foster a common research agenda, and nurture an academic community that lowers cultural barriers. To promote this goal, a conference on the theme of “Networking East and West: Communications, Commerce, Culture” will be convened in Renmin University, Beijing, China, on July 11-12, 2014. The hosts are the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) and the Confucius Institute at Columbia University; the conference organizers are the School of Journalism and Communication, Renmin University, China, Columbia Journalism School, and Fudan Journalism School.
    The papers in this conference will explore the conflicts, commonalities, and contrasts that have shaped communications networks linking East and West, with a focus on China, the Pacific Rim, and the United States in the period between the mid-nineteenth century and the Second World War.  This call for papers is intended to encourage submissions on a broad range of topics from various disciplinary perspectives. Possible topics include: journalistic ethics, technology transfer, telegraphy, print culture, and media theory.  Papers need not be explicitly comparative, though all should address the conference theme.
    Participants should send the texts of their proposed papers (in Microsoft Word .doc/.docx) by June 1, 2014, to the organizing committee at In preparing their texts, proposers should pay particular attention to the conference agenda available from the link below. Successful proposals will be announced on June 15. Participants will be responsible for their own transportation and accommodation expenses.
    For additional information, please see the complete announcement. Those wishing to attend should register no later than July 10.

Friday, May 2, 2014

New Blog of Interest: Positive Check from the EHES

The European Historical Economics Society (EHES) has recently started a blog, called "Positive Check" (after the concept advanced by Thomas Malthus). Its aim is "to promote European research and training in economic history." It publishes posts from events organized by the Society, articles published in the journal European Review of Economic History, interviews with leading scholars in economic history, and other news related to the Society's aims and those of its members. Recent posts include a Q&A with Dan Bogart of UC-Irvine, incoming co-editor of the European Review of Economic History, and a summary of a new working paper by Natacha Postal-Vinay. The editor of the blog is Kerstin Enflo of Lund University.