The Exchange: The BHC Weblog


P. S. Duval, c. 1840. Courtesy of the Historical
Society of Pennsylvania (from "Philadelphia on Stone")

A project of the Library Company of Philadelphia, "Philadelphia on Stone" "documents the lives of lithographic artists and printers, and the work they produced, and illuminates Philadelphia’s transformation from a seaport into a leading manufacturing center, and the impact these changes had on the built environment." In addition to the online exhibition, which features hundreds of images of lithographs, the project also created a digital catalog featuring over 1,300 lithographs from a number of institutions, and a biographical dictionary providing information about 500 artists, lithographers, printers, and publishers who worked in commercial lithography in Philadelphia between 1828 and 1878. See also the accompanying PEAES conference, "Representations of Economy," mentioned here earlier.

The Women's Committee of the Economic History Society, chaired by Francesca Carnevali of the University of Birmingham, has posted the program for its upcoming workshop on "Technology and Gender," to be held 9:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. on November 6, 2010, at the Institute of Historical Research in London.  A booking form is available on the program page.  Those wishing to attend should register by November 1, 2010.

As the new academic year begins, we offer a round-up of workshops, forums, and discussion groups in business and economic history; please check each website for more detailed information; some groups may  not have posted Fall 2010 information. In addition to their value for those able to participate directly, these groups often maintain mailing lists and sometimes make speakers' papers freely available.

Business History Seminar, HBS
Business History Unit Seminars, LSE
Business History @ Erasmus Seminars
Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society (Hagley) Research Seminars
Columbia University Seminar in Economic History
Harvard Economic History Workshop
History and Economics Seminar, Harvard University
Institute for Economic and Business History Research, Stockholm
Northwestern Workshop in Economic History
PEAES Fellows Colloquium, Library Company of Philadelphia
Penn Economic History Forum
Von Gremp Workshop in Economic and Entrepreneurial History, UCLA
Washington (D.C.) Area Economic History Seminar
Workshop on the Cultural History of Capitalism, University of Georgia
Workshop on the Political Economy of Modern Capitalism, Harvard University
Yale Economic History Workshop

The Library Company of Philadelphia's Program in Early American Economy and Society (PEAES), in collaboration with the Visual Culture Program, will hold a conference on "Representations of Economy: Lithography in America from 1820 to 1860."  The conference will meet in Philadelphia on October 15, 2010.  It is free and open to all those interested, but registration is required.  As the organizers explain:

Interior view of L. J. Levy & Co.’s
Dry Goods Store, Philadelphia, c. 1857
(Free Library of Philadelphia)

Most Americans living in the four decades after 1820 witnessed rapid and deep changes in their economic conditions. . . .The great variety of changes wrought in America during this era was captured in print by an array of artists, draftsmen, printers, and distributors in the new profession of lithography. They created hundreds of graphic works, printed ephemera, and stunning hand-colored plates that conveyed the nature of economic changes. Lithography not only had an impact on the print culture of the era; it was also an industry that transformed working lives and directed the public’s “eye” toward commerce and shopping, fashion, agricultural fairs, architecture, manufacturing, belching smoke in the skyline, the rising height of storefronts, and the lurking dangers of new tenements and open-air markets.

The conference program is now available; papers will be posted closer to the conference date.  Please see the conference site for complete information.

The Harvard-Newcomen Postdoctoral Fellowship in Business History is awarded for twelve months' residence, study, and research at Harvard Business School, July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012. 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 offered in the MBA curriculum. The fellow is required to research and write a case, under the direction of a senior faculty member, to be used in one of the business history courses. Finally, the fellow is encouraged to submit an article to Business History Review during his or her year at the School.

Applications should be received no later than October 15, 2010, and submitted to: http://www.hbs.edu/research/faculty-recruiting/faculty-applicants.html. If there are materials that can be sent only in hard copy, please send them to: Walter A. Friedman, Rock Center 104, Harvard Business School, Boston, MA 02163, email: wfriedman@hbs.edu. For full information about the Fellowship and the application process, please consult the appropriate section of the Business History Fellowships site.

McIntyre Hall

The School of Business and Leadership at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, announces two openings for full-time, tenure-track positions open to candidates with a Ph.D. in business history.

1. Assistant or Associate Professor of Management (for complete posting and instructions). The person hired will teach undergraduate courses in management, primarily introductory management as well as elective courses in areas such as human resource management, international business, European or Asian business, research methods, leadership, or strategy.  Qualifications include Ph.D. (ABD considered) in management and a commitment to undergraduate teaching and liberal arts education. Will consider Ph.D. in appropriate related disciplines, such as psychology, economics, political science, sociology, education, communication, and history. 

2. Assistant or Associate Professor of Marketing (for complete posting and instructions). The person hired will teach undergraduate courses in marketing, primarily introductory marketing, as well as elective courses in areas such as marketing communications, marketing management/strategy, consumer behavior, or international marketing. Case analysis and projects that stimulate independent critical thinking and promote effective written and oral communication skills and problem solving should be an important component of these classes. 

For both positions, case analysis and projects that stimulate independent critical thinking and promote effective written and oral communication skills and problem solving should be an important component of these classes. Ability to research/teach with an international focus or in other disciplines within the School of Business and Leadership is highly desirable.  The deadline for submission of application materials is October 15, 2010.

The German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C., has issued calls for papers for two upcoming conferences of interest to business and economic historians:

I. "Economic Crime and the State in the Twentieth Century: A German-American Comparison," to be held at the GHI on April 14-16, 2011; the convenor is Mario Daniels. The call for papers:

In view of the widely reported cases of corruption and fraud in companies such as Volkswagen, Siemens, and Enron, as well as the public outrage that followed in the wake of these scandals, it is surprising to note that relatively little historical research on economic crime in the twentieth century has been conducted to date. Although neighboring disciplines such as law, economics, political science, and sociology offer attractive approaches to the phenomenon of economic crime, they reflect little on the continuous changes in how illegal and immoral behavior has been defined and understood in the business world since the late nineteenth century.

This lacuna is even more conspicuous, as the relatively well-established field of corruption research has demonstrated that a historicization of nomenclature and a dense description of transformations in economic practices can afford far-reaching insights into historical societal forms, including their structures, conflicts, and developmental processes.

The workshop "Economic Crime and the State in the 20th century" would like to help fill this lacuna. To this end, it will try to draw on some of the methods and aims worked out in the field of corruption research and apply them to the entire spectrum of individual phenomena subsumed under the rather diffuse collective name of "economic crime," including embezzlement, tax evasion, certain forms of corruption, investment and subsidy fraud, antitrust infringement, and industrial espionage. Conclusions regarding the historical development of persecution by the state and the accompanying socio-political discussions are widely lacking for most of these offenses. Moreover, this enumeration of very different forms of delinquency shows the need for a concretization and differentiation of the employed terms and concepts. 

Paper proposals are welcome internationally from both young and established scholars from different disciplines, including, but not limited to, business history, economic history, economics, sociology, political science, and law. The workshop, to be held in English, will focus on discussions of pre-circulated papers of 5,000 to 6,000 words. Proposals should include a paper abstract (two pages maximum) and a short curriculum vitae in English. Proposals must be submitted via email (preferably in pdf format) by October 15, 2010 January 14, 2011, to Mario Daniels.  Expenses for travel and accommodation will be covered, though those selected are encouraged to defray organizing costs by soliciting funds from their home institution.  For a fuller explanation, please see the call for papers on the GHI website.

II. "Making Modern Consumers: Rationalization, Mechanization, and Digitization in the Twentieth Century," to be held at the GHI June 16-18, 2011; convenors are Gary Cross, Angelika Epple, and Uwe Spiekermann. The call for papers:

The historiography of twentieth-century consumption usually either analyzes processes of production or centers on narratives of actors. Consumption is presented as an active process, grounded in the changing patterns of needs and wants driven by firms, consumers, or both. While these narratives underline our understanding of rationalization as a process of acceleration, the rapidly developing spheres of consumption and production emerge as more or less autonomous, clearly separated from each other. Our conference will question this perspective.

In our view, historical analysis of consumption and consumerism in the twentieth century must include the structural economic and technological changes that are normally analyzed only in reference to a supposedly independent sphere of production. Depersonalized, anonymous structures shaped not only the way consumer goods were manufactured, but also reconfigured the sphere of consumption as well as the subject-formations and self-definitions of the individuals involved. Rationalization, mechanization, and digitization caused acceleration on all social levels. They shaped and were shaped by all aspects of twentieth-century consumption, from modern retailing, product design, advertising, and supposedly personal forms of communication to the perceptions and choices of all actors involved, including entrepreneurs, marketing specialists, and consumers.

To determine the extent and significance of these interactions among anonymous structures, the twentieth-century history of consumption, and the process of acceleration, the conference will focus on three major topics:

First, we will present and analyze basic structural innovations that served to rationalize, mechanize, and digitize consumption. We will provide insight into both the actors behind these processes and the new demands that these processes placed on individuals, particularly on consumers.  Second, . . . we will focus on how these anonymous structures led to the reconfiguring of services, consumer goods, and packaging-as well as of shops and other spaces of consumption. We will also examine shifts in the communicative presentation of services, changes in advertising and marketing, and redefinitions of salespersons, service staff, and consuming subjects. Third, we will focus on acceleration processes caused by the rationalization, mechanization, and digitization of production and consumption.

The conference will not only compare American and European developments and examples. It will also investigate their interactions and mutual interferences. Special attention will be given to papers that include developments in non-Western societies.

Paper proposals (one page preferred, two pages maximum) are welcome for all topics from both young and established scholars of different countries and disciplines. Proposals should include an abstract in English and a curriculum vitae. These materials should be submitted via email (preferably in pdf format) by October 15, 2010, to Bärbel Thomas. For a complete explanation, please see the full call for papers.

The Business History Group in Harvard Business School’s Entrepreneurial Management Unit and Baker Library Historical Collections announce a new online resource — Latin American Business History: Resources and Research. Laura Linard from Historical Collections explains:
The Business History Group has made the globalization of research and teaching of business history a high priority and has a strong interest in facilitating research on Latin American business history, especially within the Southern Cone of the continent, initially Chile and Argentina. . . .
Included in this Web resource are excerpts from oral histories with twenty-one leading business practitioners from Argentina and Chile, conducted by HBS Research Fellow Dr. Andrea Lluch.  . . .  These interviews are a valuable resource for research on the business history of Argentina and Chile since the 1960s. The interview transcripts are available only for academic and scholarly research upon request from Baker Library Historical Collections
Loading bananas, Colombia, c. 1927. United Fruit
Company Photograph Collection, Baker Library
Historical Collections, HBS.
The website includes descriptions of and collection guides for a range of photographic, manuscript, and book resources within Baker Library Historical Collections that document Latin America business history. Major collections include the United Fruit Photograph Collection, 1891–1962, which includes approximately 10,400 photographs recording not only the enterprises and operations of this influential company but also the life within the company towns and villages.
   

This initiative was coordinated by Geoffrey Jones, the Isidor Straus Professor of Business History at Harvard Business School, and facilitated by Sven von Appen, an HBS alumnus and prominent Latin American businessman.  This ongoing project is conducted in association with Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.

Kim Phillips-Fein's recent book, Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan (Norton, 2009, and out in paperback in January 2010), was recently mentioned by NYT op-ed columnist Frank Rich, who wrote: "[Tea Party financial backers] are the latest incarnation of what the historian Kim Phillips-Fein labeled 'Invisible Hands' in her prescient 2009 book of that title: those corporate players who have financed the far right ever since the du Pont brothers spawned the American Liberty League in 1934 to bring down F.D.R."

Phillips-Fein, who teaches history at New York University, has written and spoken about her research widely in the last year.  Her own pieces can be found on The Huffington Post ("Fighting the New Deal All Over Again" and "'Invisible Hands': The Dangerous Power of Business"), and video presentations on BookTVProgressive Book Club, and HNN (2009 OAH paper).

Phillips-Fein, who received her Ph.D. in history from Columbia University in 2005, received the school's Bancroft Dissertation Award in 2007 for "Top-Down Revolution: Businessmen, Intellectuals, and Politicians against the New Deal."