Call for Papers BHC 2025

Call for Papers

BHC Annual Meeting 2025

The Business of Labor

March 13-15, 2025 at the Crowne Plaza Midtown in Atlanta, Georgia.

In recent years, the role of labor in modern business has become increasingly difficult to ignore.  The past year alone has witnessed the resurgence of unions in some countries and the rise of so-called “digital sweatshops” in others.  Other developments – the disruption of global supply chains dependent on low-wage work, the fear that artificial intelligence will render high-wage jobs obsolete, and the growing problem of forced labor – similarly encourage examination of the relationship between businesses and the human beings who power them.

In light of these trends, the Program Committee invites submissions that consider the history of labor – broadly defined – as it relates to the larger history of business. Potential topics include the history of automation, deskilling, offshoring, the service sector, self-employment, the gig economy, child labor, workplace safety, migrant labor, white collar work, corporate paternalism, gender employment and pay gaps, government regulation, scientific management, labor organizing, union busting, coerced and enslaved labor, profit-sharing, and many more.

The Program Committee is especially interested in sessions that make business history relevant to contemporary policy debates.  To that end, the organizers welcome proposals for roundtables, workshops, and other events that move beyond the traditional panel format.

While we encourage submissions to take up these themes, proposals addressing other topics in business history will receive equal consideration by the program committee in accordance with BHC policy. Graduate students and emerging scholars in the field are particularly encouraged to attend. Graduate students and recent PhDs whose proposals are accepted for the meeting may apply for funds to partially defray their travel costs; information will be sent out once the program has been set.

The Program Committee will prioritize fully formed panel proposals (including 3-4 papers, a discussant, and a chair). To facilitate panel organization, we encourage everyone to use the panel proposal forums on the BHC website. Additionally, we encourage submissions employing creative session formats that foster lively interactions among presenters and with the audience. While we will consider standalone paper submissions, we encourage individual authors without a panel to submit proposals for the conference poster sessions. This format, which facilitates close interactions between presenters and the “audience” is designed to be especially beneficial for emerging scholars and for those whose research lends itself to visual presentation. 

The Program Committee includes co-chairs Ai Hisano (University of Tokyo) and Grace Ballor (Bocconi University); as well as Ann-Kristin Bergquist (Uppsala University), Justene Hill Edwards (University of Virginia), Bart Elmore (Ohio State University), Andrea Lluch (CONICET and Universidad de los Andes), and Sean Vanatta (University of Glasgow); along with BHC President Stephen Mihm (University of Georgia).

Proposals and Submissions

Proposals may be submitted for panels, individual papers, or poster sessions.

Session proposals (unless a roundtable) should include a maximum of four individual presentations. All session proposals should have a cover letter containing a title, a one-paragraph session description, and the names and affiliations of a recruited chair, as well as the contact information for the session organizer.

Poster proposals should include a paper/project abstract of approximately 300 words, as well as a 100-200-word description of how inclusion in the poster session could benefit your research.

To submit a proposal, go to https://thebhc.org/proposal-instructions

The deadline for receipt of all paper and session proposals is November 1, 2024. Notification of acceptance will be given by December 1st, 2024. Information on registration and fees for participation and the provisional program will be announced at the beginning of February 2025. Everyone appearing on the program must register for the meeting. 

Prizes

The BHC offers a number of prizes tied to the conference. Please overview the following requirements to see if your paper can be considered and indicate that during the submission process.

The K. Austin Kerr Prize will be awarded for the best first paper delivered by a new scholar at the annual meeting. A "new scholar" is defined as a doctoral candidate or a Ph.D. whose degree is less than three years old. You must nominate your paper for this prize on the proposal submission page where indicated. Please check the appropriate box if your proposal qualifies for inclusion in the Kerr Prize competition. 

The BHC awards the Herman E. Krooss Prize for the best English-language dissertation in business history by a recent Ph.D. in history, economics, business administration, history of science and technology, sociology, law, communications, and related fields. To be eligible, dissertations must be completed in the three calendar years immediately prior to the 2025 annual meeting and may only be submitted once for the Krooss prize. After the Krooss committee has reviewed the proposals, it will ask semi-finalists to submit copies of their dissertations. Finalists will present summaries of their dissertations at a plenary session and will receive a partial subsidy of their travel costs to the meeting. Proposals accepted for the Krooss Prize are not eligible for the Kerr Prize. If you wish to apply for this prize, submit a cover letter, dissertation abstract, and author's c.v., using this form: https://thebhc.org/krooss-prize-nomination. The deadline for proposals for the Krooss prize is November 14th, 2024.

The Martha Moore Trescott Award is awarded to the best paper at the intersection of business history and the history of technology presented at the Business History Conference's annual meeting. The prize will be awarded on the basis of the written version of a paper to be presented at the annual meeting. Those wishing to be considered for the prize must indicate so at the time of submitting their original proposal for the meeting. Self-nominating scholars must also provide the written paper to the Chair of the committee not less than one month before the annual meeting. Though the prize will be awarded on the basis of the written paper, candidates must register for the meeting and present their work. Scholars who are eligible for the Kerr Prize may also enter the Trescott Prize. There are no other restrictions on eligibility. Written papers should be no longer than 4,000 words (exclusive of notes, bibliography, appendices, figures, and illustrations).

Doctoral Colloquium in Business History  

The BHC Doctoral Colloquium (DC) in Business History will be held in Atlanta, Georgia on March 13th, 2025. The participants will be invited to a welcome dinner on March 12th in Atlanta. Typically limited to ten students, the colloquium is open to doctoral candidates who are pursuing dissertation research within the broad field of business history from any relevant discipline (e.g., from economic sociology, political science, cultural anthropology, or management, as well as history). Most participants are in year 3 or 4 or their degree program, though in some instances applicants at a later stage make a compelling case that their thesis research had evolved in ways that led them to see the advantages of an intensive engagement with business history. We welcome proposals from students working within any thematic area of business history.  Topics may range from the early modern era to the present, and explore societies across the globe. Participants work intensively with a distinguished group of BHC-affiliated scholars (including the incoming BHC president), discussing dissertation proposals, relevant literatures and research strategies, and career trajectories. 

Applications (a statement of interest; CV; and a letter of support from the dissertation supervisor (or prospective supervisor)), and a three to five page presentation of the PhD project are due by December 9th, 2024, via email to Carol Lockman (clockman@Hagley.org). Questions about the colloquium should be sent to its director, Prof. Eric Godelier (eric.godelier@polytechnique.edu). Applicants will receive notification of the selection committee decisions by mid-January 2025. If they travel to Atlanta, all participants will receive a stipend that partially defrays travel costs to the annual meeting. If accepted, Colloquium participants have a choice of pre-circulating one of the following: 

  • a 15-page dissertation prospectus or updated overview of the dissertation research plan; 

or 

  • a draft dissertation chapter, along with a one-page dissertation outline/description. Participants should choose the option they feel will most assist them at this stage in their research and writing. We will need to send the prospectus/overview or a chapter draft and outline by February 26th. Those will then be posted on a Colloquium webpage on the BHC website and shared with all participants to read in advance. A photo will be needed for the DC webpage.