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Showing posts from August, 2011

Awards for Research in Postal History from the USPS

In the wake of our recent post on a GIS visualization of US Post Office expansion comes word of the Rita Lloyd Moroney Awards for Scholarship in Postal History from the US Postal Service. The USPS sponsors two annual prizes for scholarship on the history of the American postal system: scholarship by junior scholars (undergraduates and graduate students) is eligible for a $1,000 award; scholarship by senior scholars (faculty members, independent scholars, and public historians) is eligible for a $2,000 award.   The awards honor Rita Lloyd Moroney, who began conducting historical research for the Postmaster General in 1962 and then served as Historian of the U.S. Postal Service from 1973 to 1991. These prizes are designed to encourage scholarship on the history of the American postal system and to raise awareness about the significance of the postal system in American life.   The prizes are intended for scholarship on any topic on the history of the American postal system from the co

Journal Rankings and "Impact Factors" a Hot Topic

The July 2011 issue of the journal Organization has a special section on "Journal Publishing and Rankings," with the editors' introduction, "What Is a Critical Journal?" available for free download.   This special attention comes at a time when a great deal of discussion is underway about the usefulness of "impact factors" and other journal ranking schemes (the Organization articles also discuss the Association of Business Schools list) in the wake of the release of lists for 2010. Many universities weigh publications according to the importance of the journal in which they appear, often assessed through Thomson Reuters Journal Impact Factor rankings. The issue until recently has been less pronounced in history and the humanities, but Journal Citation Reports now make citation and other data available for journals across many disciplines and countries. T-R says, "The recognized authority for evaluating journals, JCR presents quantitativ

GIS: Visualizing US Expansion through Post Offices

In an interesting use of GIS, Derek Watkins, a graduate student in geography at the University of Oregon, has created a visualization showing how formal U.S. territorial control expanded in North America from 1700 to 1900, as seen through changes in the spatial distribution of post offices. (The image here is static; follow the link to see the dynamic mapping.) Watkins also points to a similar project showing the growth of newspapers across the United States, 1690-2011, at Stanford's Rural West Initiative .   Business historians have long been familiar with the importance of the post office in business and economic development. See, for example, Richard R. John, Spreading the News: The American Postal System from Franklin to Morse (1995; pb, 1998); Martin Daunton, The Royal Mail: The History of the Post Office since 1840 (1985); Patricia L. Maclachlin, The People's Post Office: The History and Politics of the Japanese Postal System, 1871-2010 (forthcoming, 2011); and R

LSE Keynes-Hayek Debate on BBC

Friedrich Hayek John Maynard Keynes Efforts to deal with economic troubles around the world have brought renewed attention to two prominent economic thinkers of the twentieth century—John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek. As described in a nutshell by the London School of Economics , they "had sharply contrasting views: John Maynard Keynes believed that governments could create sustainable employment and growth. His contemporary and rival Friedrich Hayek believed that investments have to be based on real savings rather than fiscal stimulus or artificially low interest rates." In July, the LSE staged a debate between proponents of the two thinkers, George Selgin and Jamie Whyte representing Hayek and Robert Skidelsky and Duncan Weldon speaking for Keynes. Audio and video of the debate, broadcast originally by BBC Radio 4, can be accessed at the LSE site ; a synopsis of comments can be found on the BBC site .    The Keynes-Hayek dichotomy has spawned a good deal of

Harvard-Newcomen Fellowship Applications Due October 14

The Harvard-Newcomen Postdoctoral Fellowship in Business History is awarded for twelve months' residence, study, and research at Harvard Business School, July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013.The fellowship is open to scholars who, within the last ten years, have received a Ph.D. in history, economics, or a related discipline. The fellowship has two purposes: The first is to enable scholars to engage in research that will benefit from the resources of Harvard Business School and the larger Boston scholarly community. About two-thirds of the fellow's time will be available for research of his or her own choosing. A travel fund and a book fund will be provided. The second purpose is to provide an opportunity for the fellow to participate in the activities of Harvard Business School. Approximately one-third of the fellow's time will be devoted to school activities, including attendance of the Business History Seminar, and working with faculty teaching the business history courses offe

EHA Meeting Full Papers Now Available

The Economic History Association , meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, September 9-11, has now posted a  program breakdown with links to the full texts of papers. Papers can be accessed from the EHA conference website , by clicking on the individual days of the meeting. Full details and meeting logistics are available in the conference brochure ; pre-registration is closed, but it is possible to register on-site.

Reminder: GHI Conference Proposal Deadline

Just a reminder that the deadline for proposals for "Immigration and Entrepreneurship: An Interdisciplinary Conference," cosponsored by the Center for the History of New America (University of Maryland), the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (University of Maryland), and the German Historical Institute (Washington, D.C.) is September 15, 2011 . Conveners are David B. Sicilia and David F. Barbe, University of Maryland, College Park, and Hartmut Berghoff, German Historical Institute and University of Göttingen. The conference will consider "how immigrants have shaped the American economy in the past and how immigration policy reform in 1965 has fostered the transformation of business and economic life in the United States. How have newcomers shaped and in turn been shaped by American economic life?"    The original call for papers was posted here in May; full information may be found on the German Historical Institute website. Interested applicants nee

BGEAH September Conference Program Available

The British Group in Early American History (BGEAH), "an extra-institutional collective of scholars interested in the early modern Atlantic world," will hold its 2011 conference at the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK, on September 9-11. The theme is "The Growing Daughter: Economies and Cultures in the Development of Early America, 1600-1820." The program , now available on the BGEAH website, features keynote addresses by Cathy Matson , professor of history at the University of Delaware and director of the Program in Early American Economy and Society at the Library Company of Philadelphia, and by Philip D. Morgan , Harry C. Black Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University. Professor Matson will speak on "Local Subjects, Global Themes: Recent Refashioning of Colonial North American Economic History"; Professor Morgan will address "Slavery and Antislavery: The Caribbean Perspective."    Please see the BGEAH conference page for

CFP: European Association for Urban History

The European Association for Urban History (EAUH) will hold its next annual conference in Prague from August 29 to September 1, 2012. The theme will be "Cities & Societies in Comparative Perspective." The program committee has posted the list of session topics and descriptions, and scholars are encouraged to propose papers that fit within a specific session. Readers will find several topics that relate to economic history, urban trade and commercial networks, and other subjects of potential interest. Submissions should be made using the on-line system, following the instructions provided. All paper proposals must be received by October 1, 2011 .

Conference: Consumption and Standards of Living

The Economic History Society and the Social History Society are co-sponsoring an international workshop on "Consumption and Standards of Living since the Eighteenth Century: Economic History, Social History, Cultural History," to be held at the University of Huddersfield on September 13, 2011. The full conference booklet , containing the program and paper abstracts, is now available on-line. In addition to multiple sessions, the conference will feature an opening address by Ian Gazeley, Professor of Economic History, University of Sussex, on "Standards of consumption, real incomes and nutrition in Britain, 1900-1940," and a closing talk by Jon Stobart, Professor of History, University of Northampton, on "Elite consumption in eighteenth-century England: fashion, status and personal preference." Registration information can be found on the Huddersfield website. Questions should be directed to the organizer, Dr. Paul Atkinson, at .

Digital Resource: John Johnson Collection at the Bodleian Library

The Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford has a number of on-line exhibits of interest to business and economic historians. Perhaps most relevant is " A Nation of Shopkeepers : Trade Ephemera from 1654 to the 1860s in the John Johnson Collection." Images include a wide range of trade cards, bill heads, advertisements, and other ephemera related to trade in the period.    A second exhibit also draws on the John Johnson collection. The "Toyota City Imaging Project" provides access to over 1,200 images focusing on motoring and transport. One can browse the whole database or narrow the selection by type of transport--trams, cars, air travel, bicycles, carts, ships, railroads, and carriages.    Interested readers can find more about the John Johnson collection here (including search options). A huge selection of the Johnson materials have been digitized and licensed to ProQuest; these items are available freely to educational institutions and libraries in

New Books of Interest: Mid-Summer Edition

A selection of new and forthcoming books in business and economic history: Sarah S. Elkind, How Local Politics Shape Federal Policy: Business, Power, and the Environment in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles (University of North Carolina Press, August 2011) Leon Fink, Sweatshops at Sea: Merchant Seamen in the World's First Globalized Industry, from 1812 to the Present (University of North Carolina Press, March 2011)  Farley Grubb, German Immigration and Servitude in America, 1709-1920 (Routledge, June 2011) Andrew P. Haley, Restaurants and the Rise of the American Middle Class, 1880-1920 (University of North Carolina Press, May 2011) Jennifer Holt, Empires of Entertainment: Media Industries and the Politics of Deregulation, 1980-1996 (Rutgers University Press, July 2011) Maury Klein, Union Pacific, vol. 3: The Reconfiguration: America's Greatest Railroad from 1969 to the Present (Oxford University Press, May 2011) H. Jackson Knight, Confederate Invention: The Story of

“Before Madison Avenue” Program Now Available

The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) is holding a conference with the theme "Before Madison Avenue: Advertising in Early America," which will meet in Worcester, Massachusetts, on November 4-5, 2011. The conference is sponsored by the Center for Historic American Visual Culture and the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture at the AAS. The preliminary program has now been posted on the AAS website. Session titles include "Marketing Books and Print Culture"; "Creating Consumers"; "Marketing Authority and Celebrity"; "Advertising the Natural World"; and "Words and Images." The keynote address will be given by Wendy Woloson, who will speak on "Early American Persuasion and the Emergence of Modern Consumer Culture." She is the author, most recently, of In Hock: Pawning in America from Independence through the Great Depression (University of Chicago Press, 2009).    Registration information will

Hartman Center Unveils ROAD 2.0

The John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History at Duke University has just announced the launch of ROAD 2.0: Resource of Outdoor Advertising Descriptions . As the introductory material explains, the project originated as a metadata-only database in 2003, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Later, using a grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), Duke University Libraries digitized many of the images described in the original database. The digitized version of the collection currently comprises approximately 27,000 images selected from four archival collections: the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) Archives, the OAAA Slide Library, and the papers of prominent outdoor advertising figures John Paver and John Brennan.    The new website provides access to over 20,000 photographs and slides of billboards and other outdoor-related images. Users can search the collecti

Reminder: BHC Paper Proposals Due October 1

Before the new academic year overtakes most readers, it seems a good moment to remind everyone that the deadline for paper and session proposals for the 2012 Business History Conference meeting , which will be held in Philadelphia, Pa., on March 29-31, is October 1, 2011 . The theme of the meeting is "Business and the State," as outlined in the call for papers : We are interested in substantive research on all aspects of business and the state. Potential topics include, but are not limited to: the regulation of business, state promotion of business and economic development, standards setting, government rules regarding the organization of businesses, and the interactions among businesses and consumers, citizens, and other businesses. We are interested in research on state-owned enterprises, mixed public-private entities, and nationalization and privatization. We are interested in legal history relevant to business, such as bankruptcy, corporate, labor, and patent

CFP: Special Issue of Business History on Strategy

The journal Business History has issued a call for papers for a projected special issue on "The Age of Strategy: Exploring the Cultural, Organizational, and Political Dimensions of Strategy," with Chris Carter serving as guest editor. Carter explains in the call for papers: The objective of this special issue is to introduce interdisciplinary perspectives to help understand strategy both historically but also in the present as an important cultural, organizational and political phenomenon. The premise of this Special Issue is that it is important to transcend economic analyses of strategy and explore the rich potential of concepts from critical accounting, business history, and social theory to further knowledge on strategy and introduce innovative concepts to the study of strategy in the field of business history. The Special Issue is keen to explore important, yet currently underdeveloped linkages, between the three conceptual areas to help gain a deeper empirical and

CFP: GHI “Models of Mobility” Workshop

"Models of Mobility: Systemic Differences, Path Dependencies, Economic, Social, and Environmental Impact (1900 to Tomorrow)" will convene at York University, Toronto, on March 23-24, 2012. The workshop is organized jointly by the German Historical Institute (GHI), Washington, D.C., the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies (CCGES), and the Schulich School of Business, York University. Conveners are Matthias Kipping (Schulich), Christina Kraenzle (CCGES), and Christina Lubinski (GHI). The organizers explain in their call for papers: There are continuing debates about the best ways to transport people and goods both over short and long distances in a world marked by population growth, increased urbanization, and—after a brief crisis-induced hiatus—growing trade flows. These concern both the developed economies, which struggle to modernize and integrate their aging infrastructures and reduce the environmental, social, and economic cost of mobility, and the