Friday, May 13, 2016

Over the Counter: Issue No. 25

Materials of interest from around the web:
Cartografia, a blog devoted to historical maps, has done a series of posts highlighting the work of nineteenth-century French economic geographer and cartographer Charles Joseph Minard. "Mondays with Minard" contains several posts of interest.

The Stigler Center blog reported on last fall's conference at Harvard Business School, "The Crisis in the Economic Theory of the Firm," where scholars addressed the question: Is Milton Friedman’s dictum that firms that maximize shareholder value maximize social value as well still relevant in a post-Citizens United world?

Robert E. Wright published an article on the History News Network contesting the idea that economic growth rested on chattel slavery in the United States: "Freedom, Not Slavery, Is the Root Cause of Economic Growth."

"The Future of the African American Past" is a conference to be held on May 19-21 at the Smithsonian Institution in conjunction with the opening later in 2016 of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. Among the several sessions will be "Slavery and Freedom," chaired by Eric Foner, and "Capitalism and the Making and Unmaking of Black America," chaired by Steven Hahn.

The History Company has a brief review of the recently opened Aviva Archive website, which provides a digital sample of the combined Commercial Union, General Accident, and Norwich Union archive, called "the most important insurance archive in the United Kingdom."

We are saddened to report the death, on March 1, 2016, of Peter Mathias of the University of Cambridge.

A number of books of interest have received recent attention in the media:
  • Edward Rothstein reviewed Empire of Things, by Frank Trentmann, for the Wall Street Journal
  • Peter James Hudson wrote a review essay, "The Racist Dawn of Capitalism" (covering Empire of Cotton: A Global History, by Sven Beckert; The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, by Edward E. Baptist; River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom, by Walter Johnson; and The Price of Emancipation: Slave-Ownership, Compensation and British Society at the End of Slavery, by Nicholas Draper) for the Boston Review
  • Martha Howell reviewed The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger, by Greg Steinmetz, for the New York Review of Books
  • Peter Conti-Brown discusses his new book on The Power and Independence of the Federal Reserve with Knowledge@Wharton; podcast also available AHA's Perspectives on History author Elizabeth Elliott examines Prince of Darkness: The Untold Story of Jeremiah G. Hamilton, Wall Street’s First Black Millionaire, with the author, Shane White
And in general, an excellent source for media reviews of relevant books is the NEP-HIS Blog Book Review site.

The Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago held a one-day meeting in March on "Political Economy in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution: Interdisciplinary Approaches."

In February BackStory, the American history podcast, broadcast "Hard Times: A History of Unemployment."
The U.S. Bureau of the Census has digitized and made available the complete content of the Census Atlas of the United States.

In March EHESS hosted a workshop on "Transcending Fibers and Regions: Global Manufacture and Circulation of 'Cheaper' Cloth-Clothing, 17th-20th Centuries"; the program and abstracts of papers (in English) are available here.