The Exchange: The BHC Weblog


Harvard University announces a new program of three-year postdoctoral fellowships in economics, history, and politics, to be held at the university between 2011 and 2016. In the words of the announcement, The fellowships are intended "to encourage outstanding scholarship within and across the disciplinary limits of economics, history, politics and related subjects. We particularly encourage the nomination of scholars whose work addresses questions of lasting importance to the understanding of economic change." Further,

The Program seeks outstanding candidates early in their scholarly careers, and is looking for truly extraordinary scholars. We expect that candidates will have completed their routine training for advanced study and will be far along in the dissertation stage, able to submit samples of independent work (articles, papers, dissertation chapters) in support of their candidacies. If still pursuing the Ph.D., Prize Fellows should be prepared to finish their degrees before becoming fellows. If already a recipient of the Ph.D., they should not be more than two years past the degree at the time the fellowship commences. 

Candidates for Prize Fellowships must be nominated, generally by those under whom they have studied. Applications are not accepted from candidates themselves. The program requires that all submissions (letters of nomination, letters of recommendation, and the applicant’s CV, written work, and proposal of study) be submitted electronically through a link on the website (not via email). For information about making a nomination (nominators will need a username and password supplied by the office), please contact Jessica Barnard at ehppf@fas.harvard.edu.

The deadline for nominations for the 2011 academic year is October 15, 2010, and for receipt of materials, November 1, 2010.

The European Business History Association (EBHA), in conjunction with Hellenic Open University, will hold its fifteenth annual meeting at the National Technical University in Athens, Greece, August 24-26, 2011.  The theme of the conference will be "Business Finance and the State in the 20th Century: European Comparisons in Historical Perspectives–Crises and Transformation." The call for papers explains:

The theme of the conference refers to the debate and discussion of economic crises and recessions in the 20th century, stimulated by the onslaught of the first severe recession of the 21st century. The contradictions of globalisation have set in motion a process of introspection and questioning about the role of business, finance and the state and a need to study the past, rethink concepts and processes, find keys to understanding the present and working towards a solution for the future. Relations between business and the world of finance, on the one hand, and state and finance, on the other, are of particular importance and their study continues to generate useful comparisons, experiences and new perspectives. The role, strategies and practices of the corporate and other sectors of business prevalent in the West need to be re-examined. Alternative patterns of economic structures and synergies, various industries, as well as various degrees and forms of state intervention are resurfacing as potential solutions, in order to induce economic activity and preserve the tissue and peace of societies. They have implications for entrepreneurial initiative and business organisation as well as changes in corporate strategy and governance.

For a complete description of the conference theme, please see the full call for papers.

Proposals for papers or sessions related to the theme of the conference are welcome, although paper and session proposals not directly related to it will also be considered. For paper proposals, please submit a title and abstract of no more than 400 words (one A4 page) along with a one- page CV to ebha2011proposals@eap.gr. Session proposals should include a brief abstract of the session along with a one-page abstract and a one-page CV for each participant. Deadline for all proposals is January 15, 2011.

For further details please see the conference website.

As widely reported in the press last Friday, Dutch graduate student Ruben Schalk, working in the West Frisian archives on research for his Master's degree at the University of Utrecht, found what appears to be the oldest share of Dutch East India Company (VOC) stock; the share previously thought to be the oldest is dated September 27, 1606, whereas the share Schalk found is dated September 9, 1606. The document will anchor an exhibit at the Westfries Museum running from September 10 to November 21, 2010, accompanied by a useful on-line exhibit providing historical details and a zoomable view of the share document.

Readers might also be interested in Larry Neal's PowerPoint presentation on "Venture Shares of the Dutch East India Company" for his course last spring at the London School of Economics. Neal, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Illinois, is currently a visiting professor at the LSE. He is most recently the editor, with Jeremy Atack, of The Origin and Development of Financial Markets and Institutions from the Seventeenth Century to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

We want to remind students writing dissertations in business history and their advisors about the Oxford Journals Doctoral Colloquium in Business History, which will be held in conjunction with the 2011 BHC annual meeting in St. Louis. This prestigious workshop, sponsored by the BHC and generously funded by the Journals Division of Oxford University Press, will take place Wednesday evening, 30 March 2011, and all day Thursday, 31 March 2011. The Colloquium offers a small group of graduate students an opportunity to work intensively on their dissertations with distinguished Business History Conference-affiliated scholars, including at least two BHC officers. The Colloquium is limited to ten students. Participants will discuss dissertation proposals, relevant literatures and research strategies, and employment opportunities in business history. The Colloquium is intended for doctoral candidates in the early stages of their dissertation projects. If you are interested in being considered for the Colloquium, please submit

  • a statement of interest
  • a CV
  • a preliminary or final dissertation prospectus of 10-15 pages
  • a letter of support from your dissertation supervisor (or prospective supervisor)

to Roger Horowitz at Secretary-Treasurer, Business History Conference, P. O. Box 3630, Wilmington, DE 19807, USA. Phone: (302) 658-2400; fax: (302) 655-3188; or via email at BHC2011@Hagley.org by 1 December 2010.

All participants receive a stipend that will partially cover the costs of their attendance at the annual meeting. The Colloquium committee will notify all applicants of its decisions by 10 January 2011.

Please direct questions about the Doctoral Colloquium to:

Pamela W. Laird, Ph.D.
BHC Doctoral Colloquium Director
Professor, History Department
University of Colorado Denver
Denver, CO 80217-3364 USA
303/556-4497 pamela.laird@ucdenver.edu

The Third Graduate Student Conference on the History of Capitalism will be held at Harvard University on March 4-6, 2011. "Capitalism in Action" is the theme of the meeting, which will feature Jackson Lears as the keynote speaker. The following call for papers has been issued:

Discussions of American capitalism often uncritically rely on loaded but abstract terms, from “markets” to “capital.” This conference aims to bring together emerging scholars who are interested in interrogating the nitty-gritty details of how capitalist systems have been imagined, constructed, maintained, altered, and challenged by an array of different historical actors in the United States and across the globe. What does “the economy” look like once we shift our focus from intangible market models toward the concrete workings of capitalist society and culture? In this conference, we hope to expand our understanding of American history by analyzing many different moments of “capitalism in action.”

We welcome papers by fellow graduate students from many different fields, such as cultural, social or business histories of capitalism. We encourage papers on a range of diverse topics. Possible paper subjects could include anything from mortgage-backed derivatives, land speculation, and the geography of garbage to corporate personhood, consumer branding, and the political economy of baseball. We welcome the submission of panels as well.

Interested graduate students should submit a C.V. and a 750-word abstract of their paper (description, significance, sources, current status) to histcap@fas.harvard.edu.

The submission deadline is November 1, 2010. Those selected to present will be notified by November 19 and will receive a stipend toward travel costs. 

Previous conference programs can be found at http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~polecon/conference/ (2006) and http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~histcap/ (2008).

The European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy (EAEPE), which will hold its next meeting in Bordeaux, France, on 28-31 October 2010, has now posted the preliminary program. The theme of the conference, to be held at the University of Montesquieu Bordeaux IV and locally organized by GREThA (Groupe de Recherche en Économie théoretique et Appliquée), is "Economic Crisis and the Renewal of the European Model(s): Revisiting the Debate on Varieties of Capitalism." The many session topics include "Theories of the Firm," "Revisiting the Debate on the Varieties of Capitalism," "Innovation and Technological Change," and "Knowledge, Innovation, and Economic Performances." For full information about the conference, including registration materials, please visit the EAEPE 2010 Conference website; for more information about EAEPE itself, please visit their homepage.

Tiffany Gill's recent book, Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women's Activism in the Beauty Industry, has been given the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Award for best publication from the Association of Black Women Historians. The award will be bestowed at the ABWH luncheon in Raleigh, North Carolina, on October 2, 2010, at the ASALH (Association for the Study of African American Life and History) annual meeting. Professor Gill teaches at the University of Texas at Austin.
Beauty Shop Politics, mentioned here earlier, examines the ways in which black beauticians in the Jim Crow era used their economic independence and access to a public community space as platforms for activism.

Academics, practitioners, and research students are invited to submit competitive abstracts and papers for presentation at the second International History of Public Relations Conference, to be held July 6-7, 2011, at Bournemouth University in England. Papers for presentation at the 2011 conference will be selected, after peer review, on the basis of abstracts of no more than two pages total length, including any references. Author details must be printed on a separate sheet and the author(s) should not be identified in the abstract. For a list of possible themes and topics, please see the full call for papers on the IHPRC site. Papers are especially welcome from scholars in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Please send abstracts to Professor Tom Watson, conference chair, The Media School, Bournemouth University, prhistory@bournemouth.ac.uk. The deadline for submission of abstracts is Monday, December 6, 2010.

Those interested in presenting might find it helpful to look at the 2010 program. The opening keynote speaker, whose talk is available on-line [about 12.5 min. in], was Karen Miller Russell, who teaches public relations and media history at the University of Georgia and is currently the editor of the Journal of Public Relations Research.  She is perhaps best known in BHC circles as the author of The Voice of Business: Hill and Knowlton and Postwar Public Relations (University of North Carolina Press).

In April 2011, Brown University and Harvard University will jointly host a conference on slavery and American economic development. The conveners, Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman, are currently seeking proposals for papers that explore the intertwined histories of slavery and capitalism in the decades between the American Revolution and the Civil War. The conference seeks to showcase scholarship that integrates quantitative and qualitative sources, draws on social, cultural, and political history, and incorporates insights from political economy, law, and critical theory. A range of topics and approaches are desired, including (but not limited to) biography; local and institutional studies; investigations of the manufacturing and financial sectors; questions of human capital and migration; histories of labor, management, and business practices; and accounts of inter-regional economic and political integration.

Please send a 2-3 page proposal and c.v. to Seth_Rockman@brown.edu by September
20, 2010, for consideration. Queries should be submitted to the same address.

Readers may be interested in a recent (August 21) article in the New York Times featuring David Moss of the Harvard Business School and his work on income inequality and financial crisis.  Professor Moss is a founding director of the Tobin Project, a Cambridge-based "alliance of the nation's leading academics united by a belief in the power of ideas" that seeks to "shape debate within the academic community."

Moss has recently co-edited a collection of essays with Edward Balleisen, associate professor of history and senior fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.  Government and Markets: Toward a New Theory of Regulation (Cambridge University Press, 2009) contains essays by, among others, Mary O. Furner, Neil Fligstein, Mary O'Sullivan, Barry Eichengreen, Tony Freyer, and the editors. It  is available for download by chapter on the Tobin Project website.