Uses of the Past: Perspectives, Forms and Concepts in Business History

Call For Papers

CBS Paper Development Workshop

Business History Conference, Charlotte, NC, March 12, 2020

In the past years, uses of the past has become a prominent research theme for business historians and organization scholars alike. Studies on the usefulness and appropriation of the past have appeared across diverse fields such as business history, organization studies, marketing, learning & education, and CSR. Uses of history is fashionable. But where will the field go in the future?

In the CBS PDW we seek to focus on questions that have yet to asked, and we would like to explore the theories and methods that might take the field forward.

The workshop offers an opportunity to get feedback and generate ideas of how to develop concrete paper drafts that deal, one way or the other, with uses of the past. In addition, the PDW will serve as a forum where we can discuss future directions and opportunities (and potential dead ends) going forward with a ‘uses-of-the-past’ agenda. What are the questions and research that are yet to be explored, and what are the role for business historians in shaping a ‘uses-of the past’ research agenda?

Themes to be explored in the papers could include, amongst others:

  • Uses of the past for branding, strategy and identity purposes
  • Corporate and public museums
  • The use (and abuse?) of organizational anniversaries
  • Uses of history in action
  • The role and practices of historical consultancies (e.g. Winthrop Group, The History Factory and others)
  • Historical CSR
  • Theoretical and methodological perspectives connected to uses of the past.
  • Critical perspectives on uses of the past

Submitted texts could take form as extended abstracts or full paper drafts. The important thing is that readers can identify the key arguments, theories and empirical material, for them to provide useful feedback, suggestions and comments.

Depending on the submitted abstracts and full papers, the participants and organizers could potentially explore the opportunity of a subsequent special issue on uses of the past in a relevant academic publication, such as, for example Business History. 

Participants are expected to read all circulated papers. Please submit a paper draft or extended abstract before January 10, 2020 to the workshop organizers.

Anders Ravn Sørensen, ars.mpp@cbs.dk

Morten Tinning, mti.mpp@cbs.dk