STS and Business History

Sponsor: Canadian Business History Association and Univ. of Toronto Techno-Science Research Unit

The “STS and Business History” workshop aims to foster a conversation between Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Business History.  STS-inspired methods offer novel approaches for Business Historians to navigate the complexities of modern capitalism. In particular, STS scholars have provided useful ways of approaching the study of finance, logistics, human resource management, corporate planning, infrastructure, and big data. Paired with the detailed attention that Business Historians pay to the intersections between business practices and wider social, cultural, and political contexts, the integration of STS approaches into Business History offers a fruitful mode of investigating modern capitalism.

The workshop builds on the conference Techniques of the Corporation, organized by Michelle Murphy, Kira Lussier, Bretton Fosbrook, and Justin Douglas at the University of Toronto in May 2017. Techniques of the Corporation convened an interdisciplinary group of scholars representing STS, business history, history of science, cultural studies, geography, media studies, anthropology, and legal studies, to query the techniques, epistemologies, and imaginaries of the corporation.

Drawing from the conversations of this conference, we invite scholars interested in participating in the “STS and Business History Workshop,” to submit proposals that focus on the history of a particular corporate technique or technology. We invite papers from a range of approaches — history of science and technology, critical race studies, feminist science studies, Indigenous studies, postcolonial studies – where STS and business history might be effectively placed in conversation.

The aim of the workshop is to prepare a collection of papers for a special journal issue. We welcome emerging and experienced scholars from a variety of disciplines to submit an abstract (250 words) by January 23rd, 2018. Accepted participants in the workshop will pre-circulate a short (1500-2000 word) paper that focuses on the history of a particular technique or technology deployed by corporations.

Click on this link to submit your abstract.

Participants will be selected by the workshop organizers, and any questions about the workshop should be directed to Justin Douglas ( A deadline for the submission of full papers will be posted closer to the conference date.