SI CfP BH: Business History of the Middle East & Northern Africa

Business History Special Issue Call for paper

Exploring Business History of the Middle East and North Africa Region

Special Issue Editors

Vijay PereiraKhalifa University, UAE
vijay.pereira@port.ac.uk

Yama TemouriKhalifa University, UAE and Aston University, UK
y.temouri1@aston.ac.uk

Shlomo TarbaUniversity of Birmingham, UK
s.tarba@bham.ac.uk

Behlül ÜsdikenSabanci University and Özyeğin University, Turkey
behlul.usdiken@sabanciuniv.edu

Neveen AbdelrehimNewcastle University, UK
neveen.abdelrehim@newcastle.ac.uk

Manuscript deadline
15 November 2021

Background:
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is currently growing and is seen to be one of the emerging business and economic regions of the world, with much happening recently. However, the MENA region has always been historically involved in global trade (Gelderblom and Trivellato, 2019, Aldous, 2019). In fact, before the Americas were discovered (end of the fifteenth century period), the Middle East region played an important role in world trade, and this included the famed West-East and East-West trade (Pereira and Malik, 2013; 2015; 2018). More specifically, the main West-East trade included the ‘Silk Road/Route’, that ran across the region from historical cities such as Aleppo to Baghdad, Rayy, Nishapur, Marv, and Samarkand, and through Kashgar to the T’ang capital, Chang’an (Xi’an) regions. Similarly, when it came to the East-West trade, items such as silk, porcelain, spices, dates, textiles, and horses moved in the opposite direction.

The slave trade also saw gold being traded from Sub-Saharan Africa and transported across the desert in exchange for textiles and salt. As a consequence, slaves were brought from East Africa to Egypt and to the Indian subcontinent in return for spices and textiles (Pereira and Malik, 2015; 2018). Other items such as food grain and salt were imported into Anatolia and further east from northern Europe. Dates also formed a major export to Europe from the Arab world, as was ivory and gold from sub-Saharan Africa.
Historically, cross border business involving this region dates back to the regime of the Ottoman Empire, which saw a significant trade between Western countries, and this was prevalent even during the wars. Thereafter, the Levant Company (founded in 1581, when agreements were enacted with France in 1569, when France took over from Venice as the leading trading nation in the Levant); the English East India Company (founded in 1600); and the Dutch East India Company (founded in 1602), all traded with the MENA countries (Pereira and Malik, 2015; 2018).

Thematic areas of the special issue:

  • Given the above background, not much has been researched or written on these historical aspects. This special issue call for papers thus solicits papers that delve into the historical aspects of business in the context of the region. We have put forth the following list of topics, derived from the extant historical literature that would be interesting and add to new knowledge. This list is not exhaustive and we solicit and encourage potential contributors to utilize this list as indicative.
  • Historically, how have the similarities and differences in cultural, institutional, religious, economic and political histories shaped these MENA countries’ business landscapes, over the years (e.g. Chaudhuri, 1990; Decker et al., 2018)?
  • How have previous historical conflicts, such as wars from the fourteenth century until World War II, shaped and impacted businesses in this region?
  • To what extent have Western influences historically impacted on business activity in this region (Decker, 2018; Abdelrehim & Toms, 2017)? What was the extent of convergence, divergence or crossvergence of business practices in the MENA region when it comes to cross-border trade and organizations (e.g. Üsdiken, and Kieser, 2004)?
  • What can we learn from unique and rare historical sources whilst investigating the historical landscape in the context of businesses in the MENA region (e.g. resources from the Ottoman archives) (e.g. Halil and Quataert, 1994)? Also, for example, what can be garnered from any local MENA economic historiographers and their accounts, like their Japanese, Chinese or Indian counterparts? Further, what can be unraveled from any Arabic and other indigenous archives to bring out historical facts that have not been previously researched and told?
  • How can prior research, if any, on the traditional industries of the MENA region, such as agriculture, handicrafts, mining, indigenous manufacturing, and on regulating oil in Iran and India (Abdelrehim and Verma, 2019) be expanded further?
  • What were the historical migration and importation of labour and its relevant trends in the above industries in the MENA region? For example, what were the historical trends of European immigration of Frenchmen, Italians and Spaniards as well as Asian migration of Indian (e.g. Verma and Abdelrehim, 2017; Abderehim et al. 2018), Chinese and African migrants from other than the MENA region?
  • What were the effects of historical institutional changes and inventions such as for example, introduction of new transportation systems, such as steam navigation through rivers, land transport from the traditional camels and mules to motor/auto driven systems, building of roads, railways, telegraphs etc., on businesses in the MENA region?
  • How was international business or trade in the MENA region affected by historical finance, capital, organized banking, loans, mortgages and export-import regimes and trends?
  • How and to what extent was historical tribalism, indigenous culture and practices, landownership, etc., impacting and affecting businesses in the MENA region?

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Submission Instructions

Review Process Timeline:
Call-for-papers announcement: February 10, 2021
Submission due date: November 15, 2021
First round decisions: March 1, 2022
A special issue conference and paper development workshop is proposed at NEOMA Business School, France: April, 2022.
Similar, proposed special issue conference and paper development workshop at Newcastle University Business School, UK: June 1-3, 2022
First revision due date: August 1, 2022
Second round decisions: November 1, 2022
Second revision due date: February 1, 2023
Third round decisions: April 1, 2023
Final editorial decisions: June 15, 2023

BizHisCol Webinar – Twentieth-Century Chinese business history (double feature)

Presenters: Mengxing Yu (Kyoto University) and Ghassan Moazzin (University of Hong Kong)

Chair: Adam Nix (De Montfort University)

11/05/2021 at 14.00-15:30 UK | Register here

Paper 1: The evolution of pulp and paper firms: The example of coastal areas in China since 1978

Mengxing Yu (Kyoto University)

The past half century witnessed the rapid increase of the Chinese share in the world paper production from 3.1% in 1977 to 26.4% in 2016, and thus China became the largest paper producer. This study examines the history of various types of the Chinese paper firms, and addresses how they have developed and influenced other domestic industries. This study focuses on the changes of Chinese paper firms since 1978, and compares its developing model with Japan, the Nordics and Britain. The creativity of entrepreneurship to the transformation of Chinese paper firms will also be studied. In particular, special attention will be paid to the private entrepreneurs that started their business since the 1990s, which was the boom period of the Chinese paper industry. In doing so, this study argues that the changes of the paper firms in China have been tightly in pace with Chinese economic development since 1978. In addition, this study reveals how a Chinese industry has maximized the limited resources and developed from a relatively low industrialized level to the world largest producer and consumer.

Paper 2: The Business of Electrification – Hu Xiyuan, Oppel Lamp Manufacturers Ltd. and the Birth of the Chinese Electric Lamp Industry, 1921–1937

Ghassan Moazzin (University of Hong Kong)

Electric light was first introduced into China in the 1870s. However, until the 1920s it were foreign companies and products that dominated the Chinese market for electric lamps. Only during the 1920s and 30s – the years before the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937 – did the Chinese electric lamp industry start to flourish and manage to compete with the established foreign firms and goods. This paper uses the case study of Chinese entrepreneur Hu Xiyuan and his Oppel Lamp Manufacturers Ltd., which pioneered early Chinese electric lamp manufacturing, to explore the hitherto understudied emergence of the indigenous electric lamp manufacturing industry in China during the 1920s and 1930s and its attempts of competing with foreign imports and manufacturers in China. In particular, this paper will focus on two aspects of the development of Oppel Lamp Manufacturers Ltd. First, it will discuss how Hu emulated foreign-produced light bulb technology and adapted foreign technological knowledge to the Chinese market managed to build up a successful light bulb manufacturing business that could produce light bulbs on an industrial scale. Second, this paper will show how Hu intentionally marketed his products as national Chinese (as opposed to foreign) commodities to gain an advantage against his foreign competitors, including the international Phoebus light bulb cartel that tried to dominate the global production and sale of light bulbs at the time.

AHRC-funded studentship “Development in Postcolonial West Africa”

Applications are now open for the first of three 2021-22 AHRC- funded Collaborative PhD studentships.

These fully-funded studentships offer a unique and exciting opportunity for students to focus on diverse histories and records while completing a flexible project which can be shaped by the student’s own interests and experiences. 

Development in Postcolonial West Africa: Building the Nation‘ is co-supervised by Juliette Desplat and Dan Gilfoyle at The National Archives, in collaboration with Iain Jackson and Patrick Zamarian at the University of Liverpool.

We want to encourage the widest range of potential students to apply for our CDP studentships and are committed to welcoming students from different backgrounds to apply. We particularly welcome applications from people from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic backgrounds as they are currently underrepresented at this level in this area. 

Hagley Library – Avon Archive event 7 May (Zoom)

AVON: AN INTERNATIONAL FORUM ON ITS ARCHIVE

Sponsored by the Hagley Library, Wilmington DE

Friday May 7, 9 am – 12 noon EST via Zoom

In the 20 years since Avon Products, Inc., deposited its records at Hagley Library they have become one of our most popular research collections. A virtual event on May 7 will bring attention to their contribution to history. 

Avon Products, Inc., is one of the oldest direct selling companies in America. It traces its origins to 1886, when David H. McConnell bought the Union Publishing Company and started manufacturing perfumes to give away with his books. McConnell discovered that his customers were more interested in the fragrances than the books, so he decided to concentrate on selling perfumes. The business was renamed the California Perfume Company (CPC) in an effort to associate its products with the perceived beauty of the Golden State.

From the beginning, CPC sold directly to the consumer through a national network of sales representatives, primarily women, who were looking for economic opportunity and flexible part-time employment. In 1929, CPC introduced the Avon brand in an effort to modernize its image. The corporation was renamed Avon Products, Inc. in 1950. Avon rapidly expanded into the international market during the 1950s and 1960s, principally Latin America and Europe. By the early 1970s, Avon International operated in sixteen countries. 

Speakers at the event will come from around the USA and Europe and discuss Avon’s activities in the United States, Brazil, and Italy, as well as its efforts to reach out to African American women and diversity its American salesforce. The event’s keynote will be offered by Katina Manko, who helped bring the Avon Collection to Hagley. Manko’s book, Ding Dong! Avon Calling!: The Women and Men of Avon Products, Incorporated will be published in June.  Full details of the forum at https://www.hagley.org/avon-international-forum-its-archive .

Katina Manko, Independent Scholar, “Ding Dong! Avon Calling!: The Women and Men of Avon Products, Incorporated”

Jessica Burch, Denison University, “‘Soap and Hope’: Direct Sales and the Culture of Work and Capitalism in Postwar America

Jessica Chelekis, Brunel Business School, “Avon in the Brazilian Amazon: Direct Sales and Consumption among Vulnerable Communities”

Lindsey Feitz, University of Denver, “Creating a Multicultural Soul: Avon, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Race in the 1970s”

Shawn Moura, Director of Research at NAIOP, “Exploring Avon’s Encounter with Gender, Race, and Class in Brazil, 1958-1975”

Emanuela Scarpellini, University of Milan, “Transnational Beauty: Avon International and the Case of Italy”

Advance registration is required to view the pre-circulated papers and to participate in the conference sessions; there is no fee to register.  Register at https://www.hagley.org/research/conferences/avon-forum-conference-registration

DALE: Strictly on the Download now on YouTube

It was a great pleasure to be invited to talk about our AHRC project and user perspectives on digital archives with the Digital Archives Learning Exchange (DALE), hosted by The National Archives (TNA). The event focused on how to integrate digital archives into existing archival practice and featured talks by Rosie Vizor (The Garden Museum), David Underdown (TNA) and me (Stephanie Decker, University of Bristol). The recording can found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHD9mAkzx3M

CfP BH: Business & Finance in Latin America

Call for Papers-Special Issue, Business History “Business and Finance in Latin America: From the Oil Shock to the Debt Crisis”

Call for Papers-Special Issue, Business History “Business and Finance in Latin America: From the Oil Shock to the Debt Crisis”

Since the 2008-9 financial crisis, Latin America has experienced a period of sluggish economic activity and increasing levels of external debt. In a world of low interest rates, the liquidity injected into the US and European banking systems flew over into Latin American economies as global demand dropped and commodities prices crashed downwards. The boom of private and public indebtedness over the past decade has increased the economic and financial vulnerabilities of a region that has historically been dependent on international trade and exposed to external shocks such as the current pandemic. In a context where governments have stepped in to offset the impact of the coronavirus crisis, debt levels are now approaching the peak seen during the international debt crisis of the 1980s, raising fears amongst policymakers and business leaders of new defaults and another “lost decade”.

The Special Issue “Business and Finance in Latin America: From the Oil Shock to the Debt Crisis” aims to bring new insights into the current debates by looking at how local and foreign entrepreneurs, financiers and state actors reacted to, and dealt with, the unstable economic and political context that preceded and followed the outbreak of the international debt crisis of 1982.

The scholarship on the business history of Latin America has expanded markedly over the last three decades. The number of historical studies of firms and entrepreneurship in the region grew considerably and covers a large variety of topics, such as foreign investment, multinational enterprises (MNEs) diversification strategies, family-based economic groups, business connections with social and political elites, and sectors or industries, namely trade, banking, mining, transport, agricultural and manufacture. However, while the bulk of these research has concentrated on firms that dominated before 1914 and the interwar and post-World War II years, the turbulent period of the 1970s and 1980s has received much less attention. Indeed, little is known about how the multiple crises that the region experienced in these years affected the way firms and entrepreneurs ran their businesses and overcame their debt and financial difficulties. The reasons why some companies disappeared while others survived and new ones entered the Latin American market has not yet been explored.

This Special Issue will contribute to filling this gap and provide new light on how the economic, financial, and political crises affected industries and business organizations operating in the region. To that end, the guest editors Carlo Edoardo Altamura (Graduate Institute, Geneva) and Sebastian Alvarez (University of Zurich/University of Oxford) welcome contributions and interdisciplinary research from scholars who use historical methods and original or primary sources to explore:

  • The behaviour and business strategies of financial and non-financial companies in the run-up to, and the aftermath of, the 1982 financial fallout.
  • The impact of the debt crisis and the responses of MNEs and domestic firms in Latin America.
  • The way that national and international companies managed economic and political risk in the region during the 1970s and 1980s.
  • How business actors coped with foreign debt, inflation, and the uncertainties unleashed by changing government policies and crises during the 1970s and 1980s.
  • The effects of the debt crisis and economic and structural reforms on state-business and domestic-foreign capital relationships.
  • The long-term outcomes of the crisis and the reorientation of businesses in line with the neoliberal policies of Latin American politics.

Please send your proposals as an extended abstract (max 2000 words) to the guest editors (edoardo.altamura@graduateinstitute.chsebastian.alvarez@history.ox.ac.uk) specifying the research question, methodological approach, sources, and main contribution to the literature. The deadline for the submission is April 15, 2021. Selected authors will be required to submit full papers by June 2022. Submitted papers will be subject to peer review according to BH publication procedure.

BizHisCol Webinar – How was the Manila trade financed?

An alternative institutional approach to long-distance trade finance, 1668-1828

27/04/2021 17.00 UK (NB – Time rescheduled, previously 16.00 UK)

Register here

Presenter: Juan José Rivas Moreno (London School of Economics and Political Science)
Discussant: Fernando Arteaga González (University of Pennsylvania)
Chair: Manuel A. Bautista-González (Columbia University in the City of New York)

This paper seeks to explain the financial model of the Pacific silver trade that linked Spanish America and Asia through Manila during the Early Modern period, focusing specially on the era between 1668 and 1828.This research therefore seeks to understand the business and financial model of the Manila trade, its resilience in time as well as its successful monopolisation of the Pacific route (the most direct route for the exchange of silver pesos for Asian manufactures) in the context of corporate, business, and institutional history. It does so by reconstructing and analysing for the first time the universe of the financial markets in Manila, which rested on a combination of financial and risk-mitigating instruments such as sea loans, investment vehicles like legacy funds grouped under the administration of confraternities and tertiary orders, and a legal framework that combined differing jurisdictions including Canon, Civil, and consuetudinary law. It explores the interaction of all this elements in the context of a trade defined by lack of substitutes, high risks, and oligopsonic structures in order to explain the rationale behind the instruments and organisations used.It crucially uses for the first time a database of over 525 sea loans from the notarial protocols of Manila (NAP) as well as the only surviving year-on-year account books of 23 legacy funds that invested in the Manila trade (APSR). The result is an alternative business model that relied on horizontal specialisation rather than vertical integration, in which Manila played a specialised role as a risk manager and financier of the trade, which allowed it to remain competitive and to fend-off encroachment attempts from interlopers and the East India companies without adopting a corporate form. 

Second HiMOS virtual seminar

We are excited to invite you to our next HiMOS virtual seminar (https://historymos.wordpress.com/). The aim of this seminar series is to help open up the black box of “practicing” history in the context of management and organization studies. 

We are very proud to have another great lineup of speakers sharing their insights and workshopping their papers, including Eero Vaara (Saïd Oxford, keynote), Christina Lubinski (Copenhagen Business School), and Antti Sihvonen (JSBE). 

Event details: 

Date: Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Time:   2pm-5pm (UTC+2, Finland)

1pm-4pm (UTC+1, Central European Time)

Noon-3pm (UTC+0, UK)

Please register by click here

After the registration, you will receive the Zoom link, passcode, and the full version of the working papers one week before the seminar.

Program

Keynote: 

Eero Vaara (Saïd Oxford): ”How to learn from unusual organizations?”

Working paper presentations:

Christina Lubinski (Copenhagen Business School): ”The Sound of Opportunity: Aural Temporality, Entrepreneurial Opportunity & the Evolution of Markets” (with Dan Wadhwani, University of Southern California)

Antti Sihvonen (JSBE): “Chance, Strategy and Change: The Structure of Contingency in the Evolution of the Nokia Corporation, 1986–2015” (with Jaakko Aspara, NEOMA; Juha-Antti Lamberg, JSBE; Henrikki Tikkanen, Aalto)

HiMOS is organized by the Strategy and Entrepreneurship research group of Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics (JSBE). The purpose of the seminar series is the advancement of historical research in management and organization studies. Seminars are organized twice per year. In each seminar we will have one keynote speaker with a recent history-related publication sharing their insights and experiences and 2–3 advanced working paper presentations. 

If you are interested in presenting in future seminars, contact the organizers Zeerim Cheung (zeerim.cheung@jyu.fi) and Christian Stutz (christian.stutz@jyu.fi).

We are looking forward to your participation!

BizHizCol Webinar: Textiles in business history (double feature)

13/04/2021 16.00 UK

Register here

Presenters: Muwei Chen (Beijing Foreign Studies University) and Alka Raman  (London School of Economics)
Chair: Ashton Merck (Duke University)

A Collective Approach to Pollution Treatment of small firms led by Trade Association: the Kyoto black dyeing industry in the 1970s

Muwei Chen (Beijing Foreign Studies University)

The problem of pollution is a typical example of an external diseconomy that takes an important position in the relationship between the environment and private firms. Private firms incline to prioritize economic profit over environmental protection, thus, relying on firms’ initiatives to treat pollution seems impracticable. Especially for small firms, which are financially and technically less capable.

Japan has encouraged small and medium sized firms to deal with pollution collectively since the 1970s, since SMEs had generated a large amount of pollution. However, previous studies have rarely uncovered how the collective approach had been undertaken. What kind of barriers did the small firms meet? How did they solve them? Why did the small firms choose one solution over another?

This study aims to address these gaps by exploring how small firms collectively dealt with pollution under the leadership of trade associations. This study examines the case of a local industry specializing in black dyeing in Kyoto and its surrounding areas. The group of small dyeing firms, mostly with an average of 10 employees, have successfully solved their wastewater pollution in a decade. This is largely attributable to the collective attempts initiated by the Kyoto Kurozome Industrial Cooperative Association.

This case study reflected the situation of small firms in the 1970s when social and governmental pressure on pollution treatment was increasing drastically while legislation and regulations on pollution were still in formation. The misalignment between private and public interests was affected by the change of regulation, recognition, and technological availability. As a result, the small firms were gradually grouped into the leaders of the association, the pioneers, the late movers, and the outsiders. The trade association had to uniform the different interests of the small firms in order to achieve the collective approach to pollution treatment.

On the other hand, this case study also has its specialties that may further our understanding of the possibilities and restrictions of this trade association-led collective approach. These may include the supportive Kyoto prefectural government, the interdependence of stakeholders on the supply chain due to the social division of labor, and the industrial crises emerged since 1976.

The conclusions are as follows. First, the collective attempts compensated for the risk that the relatively loose regulation environment for SMEs could lead to reduced motivation to treat pollution. Second, the association constructed a regulative and normative environment to facilitate peer supervision based on horizontal inter-firm relationship. Third, the negotiation included diverse stakeholders, nevertheless, the failure to adopt the new dyeing method was attributed to the influence from the supply chain that preferred economic profit in the short run.

From imitation to industrialisation: Evolution of cloth quality in the British cotton industry, 1740-1820

Alka Raman (London School of Economics)

The introduction of Indian printed and painted cotton textiles into Britain in the late seventeenth century led to immediate imitations of these goods by British manufacturers. Did the process of imitation of these foreign benchmark products lead to the adoption of a specific trajectory of technological growth within the British cotton industry? This paper contributes to a topic central to interpretations of British industrialisation, pathways to technological change, and eventually innovations, using qualitative empirical material analysis. It highlights material knowledge transfer in the absence of codified means of knowledge exchange and identifies imitation as a key channel for innovation and technological change. Textual evidence from contemporary entrepreneurs, merchants, manufacturers as well as observers of the British cotton industry indicates that manufacturers in the early British cotton industry were concerned about cloth quality vis-à-vis Indian cottons and that there was a shift towards improvements in cloth quality, especially for the making of the cotton warp yarn. These texts suggest the hypothesis that there was a shift towards finer cotton textiles in Britain, via attempts to make the cotton warp yarn match Indian quality. With a novel dataset of surviving British and Indian textiles of the period, the paper puts this hypothesis to test and concludes that between 1746 and 1850, there was an increase in the quality of British cottons leading to a convergence with the quality of handmade Indian cottons. Extant literature mentions learning from pre-existing products but what this learning entailed and whether imitation of benchmark products stimulated technological innovations are questions that have remained unexplored. While British industrialisation has been studied from a variety of viewpoints, the impact of pre-existing goods, whose replication by machinery effectively constitutes the shift towards industrialisation, is a perspective previously ignored. This paper shows how competitive ambition amongst British manufactures to produce goods that rivalled Indian cottons steered the trajectory of mechanical innovations in the British cotton industry. Using empirical microscopic analysis of the historical material textile sources, I demonstrate that technological change in the British cotton industry was guided by the quest to match the cloth quality of handmade Indian cottons.

Canadian Business History Association’s new YouTube channel

Past CBHA/ACHA Talks
Now Available for Viewing
on CBHA/ACHA YouTube Channel

Unmaking the Made Beaver: Money and Monopoly in the Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Fur Trade.
The Historical Anniversaries of the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Province of Manitoba
The History of Coffee, Cannabis, and Alcohol: From Stigmatized to Normalized
The Price of Gold – Lessons From Previous Price Cycles

View the presentations HERE.