Slaven doctoral colloquium 2018

Workshop report by Julia Fernando, doctoral student at Aston Business School:

This year, I had the pleasure of attending the seventh annual Tony Slaven Doctoral workshop held by the Association of Business Historians (ABH) conference. The workshop is designed to enable doctoral students to share their research with academics and other students from the field of business history and receive feedback.

I submitted my proposal to the workshop with some hesitation – my academic and professional background is firmly rooted in Work and Organisational Psychology, with a particular focus on the experiences of women in the world of work. My current research, however, is inter-disciplinary, drawing on Area Studies, Work Psychology and Business History to explore the contemporary and historical factors influencing the patterns of female entrepreneurship in Uganda.

Prior to my doctoral studies, I had come across historical methods in my wider reading of the social sciences but had never perceived a compatibility between the two disciplines. My lack of knowledge about history and historical methods threatened to dissuade me from applying to the workshop. However, the workshop’s reputation of having an informal and supportive atmosphere fought back the pangs of imposter syndrome and I successfully submitted a proposal.

The workshop preceded the annual ABH conference 2018, at the Open University, Milton Keynes. Upon arrival, I was invited to join a small selection of doctoral students and academics, who were congregating around the refreshments in the upstairs foyer of the Michael Young Building. My nerves immediately eased as we were warmly welcomed by Mitchell Larson and given an overview of the day.

The workshop comprised of presentations by doctoral students and skills sessions led by experienced academics. The day kicked off with two excellent student presentations on the history of banking and finance in the UK. Carolyn Keber discussed her research on UK investment trusts before WW1 and Oluwatoyin Olojido shared insights from her study on the role of aristocracy in British new share issues in 1891-1914.

A roundtable on doctoral examinations followed the morning’s presentations. I learnt about the common challenges facing final year students and the ways to best prepare for your final year defence from the perspective of experienced examiners in the room. As a first-year student, I listened in with great interest but a degree of psychological detachment – stressors for next year, I reminded myself…

After lunch, Professor Peter Miskell shared fascinating insights in his interactive session on the publication patterns of business historians. Learning that the Business History of Africa remains partial and less frequented, only further sparked my motivation for adopting historical methods in my study of female entrepreneurship in Uganda.

Beatriz Rodriguez and I presented our research on the Business History of developing economies. Beatriz shared her proposed research design investigating the financing varieties of capitalism in Colombia after 1950 and I gave an overview of my research and motivations to contribute a Business History of women entrepreneurs in Uganda. A lively discussion followed both of our presentations, which spilled over into side conversations and discussions sometime after the workshop closed.

I walked into the Tony Slaven Workshop unclear about how historical methods could precisely complement the research question I am pursuing. I walked out with a sense of direction, pages of recommended reading and contact details of the academics who have already offered me extensive, informal support. I have felt hugely supported by the Tony Slaven Workshop organisers, attendees and the ABH community as a whole and would thoroughly recommend the workshop to any doctoral students incorporating an element of business history in their research.

The Slaven doctoral colloquium will run again next year, please go to the ABH website for updates: http://www.abh-net.org/ 

 

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Conf: Transmission of Financial Knowledge in Historical Perspective

The Transmission of Financial Knowledge in Historical Perspective, 1840-1940

March 8-9, 2019

German Historical Institute, Washington, DC

Conveners: Nicholas Osborne (Ohio University) and Atiba Pertilla (GHI Washington)

Submission Deadline: August 1, 2018

(Call for Papers Stable URL: https://www.ghi-dc.org/events-conferences/event-history/2019/conferences/financial-knowledge.html?L=0)

Nicholas Osborne, PhD

Lecturer, Honors Tutorial College

Ohio University

Columbia University, GSAS ’14

Department of History

TOC: BH 60(6)

The  new issue of Business History is out:

The British corporate network, 1904–1976: Revisiting the finance–industry relationship
John F. Wilson, Emily Buchnea & Anna Tilba
Pages: 779-806 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2017.1333106

Retailing under resale price maintenance: Economies of scale and scope, and firm strategic response, in the inter-war British retail pharmacy sector
Peter Scott & James T. Walker
Pages: 807-832 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2017.1340455

Development built on crony capitalism? The case of Dangote Cement
Akinyinka Akinyoade & Chibuike Uche
Pages: 833-858 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2017.1341492

A moving target: The geographic evolution of Silicon Valley, 1953–1990
Stephen B. Adams, Dustin Chambers & Michael Schultz
Pages: 859-883 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2017.1346612

‘In the best position to reap mutually beneficial results’: Sole-agency agreements and the distribution of consumer durables in inter-war Britain
Nicholas D. Wong & Andrew Popp
Pages: 884-907 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2017.1360287

Deadlock in corporate governance: Finding a common strategy for private telephone companies, 1978–1998
Pasi Nevalainen
Pages: 908-929 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2017.1366448

Book Reviews

Innovation and technological diffusion: An economic history of early steam engines
Alessandro Nuvolari
Pages: 930-931 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2017.1369635

 

Profits and Sustainability. A History of Green Entrepreneurship
Ann-Kristin Bergquist
Pages: 931-933 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2017.1371433

 

Natural resources and economic growth. Learning from history
Valeria Giacomin
Pages: 933-935 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2017.1376391

 

From main street to mall: The rise and fall of the American department store
Franck Cochoy
Pages: 935-939 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2017.1376396

 

Les banques françaises et la Grande Guerre
Hubert Bonin
Pages: 939-940 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2016.1269525

Erratum

Correction to: The expansion of branding in international marketing: The case of olive oil, 1870s–1930s
Pages: x-x | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2017.1361621

Peter Miskell: Content & Practice of Business History

Last weekend at the Association of Business Historians’ Conference, Peter Miskell (Henley Business School) gave a really insightful talk about the current state of business history. He kindly agreed to share the slides and write up a short summary for the Organizational History Network.

Who are business historians, and what is it that they do? Or more bluntly, what is business history? These are questions that have troubled professional business historians for at least a couple of decades, and to which no clear consensus has yet emerged. In one sense, this doesn’t seem to matter greatly. Business history conferences continue to be relatively well attended, attracting scholars from a range of related disciplines; business history journals are publishing an increasing quantity of articles; and business history related sub-groups are evident within wider scholarly communities such as the Academy of Management, the American Historical Association, and the European Group on Organisation Studies. On this evidence business history is thriving. Yet if pressed to define the intellectual core of the discipline – the central questions it addresses and the methods it uses to tackle them – it is difficult to identify a clear answer on which all can agree. If business historians appear to lack an agreed sense of intellectual mission, they also lack a common institutional home. Those of us who may have the confidence to self-identify as business historians at social gatherings are not, as a rule, employed in departments of business history. Within our workplaces we are often lone scholars, and in many cases our identity as business historians co-exists with (or is subordinate to) another disciplinary identity. In this sense business history is not an academic disciplines on a par with, say, economics or psychology or communication studies. It is a sub-discipline, but it is not entirely clear (even among its practitioners) what it is a sub-discipline of.

Rather than attempting to identify the core intellectual identity of business history, or to outline a grand vision of how the (sub-)discipline should develop in the coming years, perhaps it would be more useful to pause and take stock of what the business community actually looks like. Where is it that business historians actually work? Who pays their (our) salaries? What are the institutional ‘rules of the game’ within which they (we) work?

In attempting to address these questions I decided to set myself the simple task of finding out which academic departments business historians are affiliated to. Academic departments in universities, I would argue, constitute the key institutional structures within which most intellectual disciplines function. Different academic disciplines have their own institutional norms and conventions, which are typically learned and reinforced within academic departments through mechanisms such as recruitment practices, mentoring, tenure and promotion systems. In most cases the health (and viability) of these departments is measured by their ability to attract students. (There are some countries where departments are also explicitly measured on the quality of their research outputs, but these provide indications of reputation or prestige rather than of financial viability). Departments which fail to attract a sufficient volume of students are at risk of closure or merger, as exemplified by the fate of many departments of economic history in the UK. This means that business historians (like most academics) ultimately make a living through their teaching rather than their research. And since there are very few students applying to study business history degrees (and thus no departments of business history), this in turn means one of two things for business historians: either they need to teach business history in such a way as to make it relevant and interesting to students whose primary focus is elsewhere; or they need to teach subject matter that would not normally be regarded as business history at all (which might be marketing, entrepreneurship, strategy, or perhaps 19th century literature, or 20th century European history). The types of academic departments within which business historians find themselves may be more a matter of necessity than of choice. Mapping out the institutional contexts within which business historians work is an important step in understanding the nature of the discipline, and the challenges (and opportunities) with which it is presented.

The way I have chosen to do this is by collecting data on every article published in the three leading business history journals during the five year period from 2013-2017. In each case the first-named author has been identified, along with their home institution, their academic department, as well as information about the article itself (period, sector and geographical focus of the study). Not all of the authors identified this way would identify themselves primarily as business historians (though much the same could be said of many people who attend business history conferences). By looking at those individuals who have taken the trouble to submit their research to the main business history journals, and whose work has been accepted after a process of peer review, we at least have access to a community of scholars who have shown a willingness to engage in ideas and debates that are of interest to business historians.

I do not pretend that the methodology employed here constitutes a comprehensive census of business history around the world. The exclusive focus on English language journals is one obvious limitation, the focus on journal articles rather than books is another. But the trends which emerge are, I think, important ones. I hope the slides that accompany this post, at least provide some empirical evidence in relation to claims and assertions that are often made about business history, and the institutional contexts within which it is conducted. I plan to work this up into a paper for publication (perhaps in one of the three journals referred to here), but in the meantime would be very happy to receive any thoughts or comments from those who are interested.

Peter Miskell, Henley Business School, UK

 

2018 Hagley Prize winner

Hagley Museum and Library and the Business History Conference are pleased to announce the 2018 winner of the Hagley Prize:  Matatu:  A History of Popular Transportation in Nairobi (The University of Chicago Press, 2017) by Kenda Mutongi of Williams College.   Hagley Museum and Library and the Business History Conference jointly offer the Hagley Prize awarded to the best book in Business History (broadly defined) and consists of a medallion and $2,500.  The prize was awarded at the Business History Conference annual meeting held in Baltimore, Maryland, April 7th, 2018.

The prize committee encourages the submission of books from all methodological perspectives.  It is particularly interested in innovation studies that have the potential to expand the boundaries of the discipline.   Scholars, publishers, and other interested parties may submit nominations.  Eligible books can have either an American or an international focus.   They must be written in English and be published during the two years (2017 or 2018 copyright) prior to the award.

Four copies of a book must accompany a nomination and be submitted to the prize coordinator, Carol Ressler Lockman, Hagley Museum and Library, PO Box 3630, 298 Buck Road, Wilmington DE  19807-0630,  The deadline for nominations is November 30, 2018.   The 2019 Hagley Prize will be presented at the annual meeting of the Business History Conference in Cartagena, Colombia, March 16th, 2019.

 

ABH 2018 is finally here!

Association of Business Historians Annual Conference 2018

Pluralistic perspectives of business history: gender, class, ethnicity, religion

The 2018 Association of Business Historians Annual Conference will be held on 29 – 30 June 2018 at The Open University Business School in Milton Keynes.

The role of different social groups and identities in business is an important, though under researched, topic in business history. However, there is, increasing recognition that, for example, women were not simply ‘angels in the home’, keeping their distance, when compared with men, from the grime of the industrial revolution and the financial transactions which that involved. Social class had an impact in the City, and Quakers, for example, were important in the banking sector.

This conference aims to explore the impact of gender, social class, ethnicity, and religion on business success, fraud, funding, financial markets, corporate governance, and corporate social responsibility.

Image of Dr Joel Greenberg

Keynote speaker: Dr Joel Greenberg

We are delighted to announce this year’s keynote will be given by author and historian Dr Joel Greenberg. His talk is entitled ‘The Business of Signals Intelligence’. Further details are available to download.

Coleman Prize for Best PhD Dissertation

Named in honour of the British business historian Donald Coleman (1920-1995), this prize is awarded annually by the Association of Business Historians to recognise excellence in new research in Britain. It is open to PhD dissertations in Business History (broadly defined) either having a British subject or completed at a British university.

 

For full details and the conference programme, click here.

Conf: The Web that was

The Web that Was: Archives, Traces, Reflections

A three-day conference, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, June 19-21, 2019. The third biennial RESAW (Research Infrastructure for the Study of Archived Web Materials) conference. Organized by the University of Amsterdam.

 

*** Keynote speakers ***

Megan Ankerson, University of Michigan

Florian Cramer, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

Olia Lialina, Merz Akademie

Fred Turner, Stanford University

 

*** Special event ***

The conference will host a lecture-performance by Geert Lovink (Institute of Network Cultures, Hogeschool van Amsterdam) and guests on the history and preservation of Amsterdam’s early internet culture.

 

*** Call for contributions ***

As the first generation of web users goes grey, it’s clear that the internet they remember is no longer around. The early web is now simply another object of nostalgia. Tech anniversaries are a dime a dozen, while once cool digital aesthetics have made several ironic comebacks. All of this reinforces a sense that we’ve left behind a digital history that was as clunky and slow as it was idealistic and naïve.

 

How can we rethink this relationship to the web’s past and the past web? This question is crucial today as the open web continues to lose ground to platforms and apps. How can this history be reconstructed and re-evaluated, and how are web archives and web histories impacted by technological change? What do traditional problems of preservation and historiography look like at scale? And what stories capture the diverse transformations and continuities that mark nearly 30 years of web history?

 

There is of course no single web history, materially or conceptually speaking. There is instead a politics of archives, technologies and discourses that needs to be uncovered. How can we expand our view of web history beyond Silicon Valley and celebrated cases? And how can we reveal the technological, social and economic contexts that have shaped not just the present web, but how we access its past? What role do archives play in uncovering the histories of the web, platforms and apps, as well as their production and usage contexts?

 

This conference aims to bring together scholars, archivists and artists interested in preserving, portraying and otherwise engaging with the web that was. In addition to paper submissions, we invite proposals for audiovisual installations, posters, software demos, or other media that connects to the conference themes.

 

Submissions in the form of an abstract may relate to, but are not limited by, the following topics:

 

* Web and internet histories

* Historicizing the web and digital culture

* Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and critiquing periodizations

* Past futures and paths not taken

* Platformization and the changing structure of the web

* Social imaginaries of the early web

* Archives and access

* Research methods for studying the archived web

* Methods for platform and app histories

* Ethics of (studying) web archives

* Technicity of web archives

* Software histories

* Archived audiences and histories of internet use

* Identity, intersectionality and web history

* Digital activism and web history

* Histories of net criticism

* Media industries and their online histories

* Web histories elsewhere: forgotten and marginalized web cultures

* Realtime, time travel and other web temporalities

* Future histories and the archive of tomorrow

 

*** Submissions ***

Submissions are welcomed from all fields and disciplines, and we would particularly encourage postgraduate students and early career researchers to participate.

 

* Individual papers of 20 minutes length (750-word abstract and a short author bio of 100-150 words).

* Panel sessions consisting of three individual papers, introduced by a chair (750-word abstract for each paper, a brief description of 300 words of the purpose of the panel, and a short author bio of 100-150 words for each speaker).

* Posters, demonstrations, and audio/video/interactive installations (short abstract of no more than 300 words, a list of A/V or other requirements, and a short author bio of 100-150 words)

* Workshops (a 500-word rationale for the workshop, including discussion of why the topic lends itself to a workshop format, and a short author bio of 100-150 words for the workshop organiser(s)).

 

Deadline for submission is 19 October 2018.

 

Acceptance will be on the basis of double-blind peer review.

 

*** Timetable ***

May 2018 – dates out

June 2018 – first call for papers

July 2018 – second call for papers

August 2018 – third call for papers

September 2018 – final call for papers and submissions open

19 October 2018 – submission of abstracts

December 2018 – notification of acceptance

19–21 June 2019 – conference

 

*** Organizing Committee ***

Anne Helmond, University of Amsterdam, NL

Michael Stevenson, University of Amsterdam, NL

 

In collaboration with the RESAW Conference Committee:

Niels Brügger, Aarhus University, DK (organiser 2015)

Jane Winters, University of London, UK (organiser 2017)

Valérie Schafer, University of Luxembourg, LU (coming organiser 2021)

 

*** Program Committee ***

Susan Aasman, University of Groningen, NL

Gerard Alberts, University of Amsterdam, NL

Megan Ankerson, University of Michigan, USA

Anat Ben-David, The Open University of Israel, IL

Josephine Bosma, independent art critic and theorist, NL

Sally Chambers, Ghent University, BE

Frédéric Clavert, C2DH Luxembourg

Annet Dekker, University of Amsterdam, NL

Matthew Fuller, Goldsmiths, UK

Sophie Gebeil, Aix-Marseille University, FR

Robert W. Gehl, University of Utah, USA

Daniel Gomes, arquivo.pt, PT

Arquivo.pt: pesquise páginas do passado

arquivo.pt

O Arquivo.pt é um serviço público que preserva informação publicada na Web desde 1996.

 

Stefania Milan, University of Amsterdam, NL

Ian Milligan, University of Waterloo, CA

Francesca Musiani, CNRS, FR

Claude Mussou, Ina, FR

Janne Nielsen, Aarhus University, DK

Camille Paloque-Berges, CNAM, FR

Thomas Poell, University of Amsterdam, NL

Bernhard Rieder, University of Amsterdam, NL

Marta Severo, University of Paris Nanterre, FR

Kees Teszelszky, Koninklijke Bibliotheek/Royal Library, NL

Fred Turner, Stanford University, USA

Peter Webster, Webster Research & Consulting, UK

Katrin Weller, GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, DE

 

*** Sponsors ***

The conference is financed in part by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) as part of the research program Innovational Research Incentives Scheme Veni in connection with the projects “The Web that Was” (275-45-006) and “App ecosystems: A critical history of apps” (275-45-009).

 

*** Contact ***

https://thewebthatwas.net

organizers@thewebthatwas.net

Job advert: The rise of corporate titans

Queen’s University Centre for Economic History is looking for a highly-skilled Postdoctoral Research Fellow to work on a Leverhulme Trust-funded project (Title: “The Rise of Corporate Titans: CEOs in the UK, 1900-2016”) together with Professor John Turner and Dr Michael Aldous. This is a full-time, fixed-term post for 24 months only, starting 1st September 2018 (or as soon as possible thereafter).

 

The main objectives of the project are to:

  1. Discover the characteristics and career paths of UK CEOs from 1900 to 2016.
  2. Identify changes in the role of the CEO over time.
  3. Examine the effects that changes in legal and political institutions, economic environment and industrial organization have on CEO characteristics.
  4. Analyse the relationship between CEO characteristics and firm performance in the long run.

Candidates should hold or be about to obtain a PhD in a discipline with a strong methodological focus in Economic or Business History, or related Management fields.

Informal enquiries may be directed to Dr Michael Aldous, email: m.aldous@qub.ac.uk.

How to apply and further details can be found here.

CfP: Companies and organizations in a historical perspective

ASSI CONFERENCE 2018

Companies and organizations in a historical perspective

Bocconi University, Milan
20-21 December 2018

Call for papers
An organization is the result of a conscious effort to create channels of authority and communication in the productive activity of the company, as well as in the allocation of resources and the evaluation of their performance. The organizational challenge typically emerges when a company achieves a certain quantitative threshold in terms of size, turning the need for organization into a key issue. Below this threshold, the internal dynamics of a company and the relationships among the actors which operate inside it are usually spontaneous, and don’t require formalization. In more recent times, however, within the contemporary global and technological environment, small companies also face the issue of adopting an appropriate organizational structure.
How much does organizational design matter for a company? Can an inappropriate organization react promptly to changes in strategy?
Evidence proves that there isn’t an organizational formula which works for all companies over time and space. The best organization is the one able to mobilize, in the most efficient way, the resources of a company. Since the 1950s, for instance, industrial sociologists have demonstrated that Taylorism is not an organization of production that works for all sectors. It used to be the best way to manage the mass production of standardized products, but not the most efficient way to manage manufacturing in, say, the chemical and metal industries, or the production of big single pieces such as in the shipbuilding industry.
In the same way, a form of enterprise which gathers unrelated activities under the same roof can be at the origin of heterogeneous results according to the different kind of control exercised by headquarters.
Even though organization became an issue around the time of the Industrial Revolution, organizational matters were certainly not irrelevant in the life of large pre-industrial companies such as banks, trading companies, and arsenals.
Finally, it should not be forgotten that organization goes beyond the single company and includes also alliances among different companies aimed at controlling a market (cartels), networks and groups of enterprises, and geographical areas, as in the case of the industrial districts in which the production of a good is achieved through a sophisticated horizontal and vertical division of labor.
We ask that proposals have the “black box” — represented by the relationship between companies and their organization– at the center of their analysis, considering, for example, topics such as the genesis of an organization, the critical tangles of the connection between corporate strategies and organization, the successes and failures of organizational forms, the role of immaterial determinants in defining the organizational design, the relationship between the entrepreneur and the organization, the creation and resilience of managerial capabilities, or the interaction between formal and informal organization.
Contributions related to any industry, geographical area, and historical period are welcome.

Conference languages will be English and Italian.
Proposals of no more than 400-600 words together with a CV should be sent to: segreteria@assi-web.it, by September 20th, 2018. Decisions will be sent by October 5th, 2018.
For proposals that are accepted, the author(s) will be required to send either a paper of 7,000-9,000 words, or a long-abstract (approximately 1,500 words) of the presentation by November 30th, 2018.