FRESH meeting on Colonialism and natural resources

Hosted by the Unit for Economic History, Department of Economy and Society, Gothenburg University

In-person only

For more information, see


Thursday October 20

9:30 Welcome

9:45-10:45 Session 1

Christopher David Absell, Gothenburg University
“Breaking the ties that bind: colonial trade ties and export growth in the poor periphery, 1950-90”

Cristián Ducoing, Lund University
“How to avoid the effects of collapsing commodities? Lessons from history”

10:45-11:15 break

11:15-12:45 Session 2

Giovanni Costenaro, European University Institute
“Towards an “exploitation globale du globe” ? Italian and West-German business and the beginning of the European development policies towards Africa, 1955-1959.”

Gijs Dreijer, Leiden University
“Exploiting the (Natural) Resources of Others: The Case of Dutch Investors in the Scramble for Africa (1870s-1910s)”

Leo Dolan, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
“FIXING A FLAWED DIAMOND: What we can learn from a Portuguese Colonial diamond mine’s late evolution from coercive labour policies to far more inclusive practices.”

12.45-14:00 lunch

14:15-15:30 Keynote Professor Tirthankar Roy, London School of Economics

15:30-16:00 break

16:00-17:30 Session 3

Eleonor Marcussen, Linnaeus University
“Water and socio-ecological relations: infrastructure and natural resources in central and western India, c.1850-1870”

Timo Tapani Särkkä, University of Jyväskylä and Simon Mollan, University of York
“What the failed development of papyrus-based industry in colonial Sudan can tell us about Institutional support and entrepreneurialism in imperial-era international business”

Friday October 21

9:00 -10:00 Session 4

Magnus Neubert, Martin-Luther-University // Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies
“Schmalspurwachstum? The growth effects of narrow-gauge railways in Bosnia-Hercegovina under Habsburg colonialism”

Guilherme Lambais, University of Brasilia
“Welfare and Real Wages in Bahia, 1572–1920”

10:00 – 10:30 break

10:30- 11:30 Session 5

Clara Lea Dallaire-Fortier, Lund University
“Lives after Mine Closures: The Role of Regulatory Regimes in Canada, 1880-2020”

Audrey Gerrard, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
“Contract and Consent in Queensland Colonial Lawmaking: The Pacific Islander Employers’ Compensation Act and the Long Shadow of Slavery”

John Brolin, Lund University
“The ghost acres of capitalism: alleviating land constraints with fish, trade, and coal in pre-industrial Britain”

12:00-13:00 Closing: Professor Klas Rönnbäck, Gothenburg University

New historical article in JMS

The January issue of JMS features a really interesting piece by Andrew Smith and Miriam Kaminishi about the historical origins of the concept of the ‘Confucian entrepreneur’. As anyone who has taught on the basis of international business textbooks can attest, the way in which Confucianism in drawn upon to explain phenomena in China’s political economy is often quite odd and uncomfortable. Below is the reference and abstract. Happy reading!

Confucian Entrepreneurship: Towards a Genealogy of a Conceptual Tool

Andrew Smith

Miriam Kaminishi

First published: 16 February 2019


The concept of the ‘Confucian Entrepreneur’ is now used by many scholars to understand entrepreneurship in China and other East Asian countries. This paper traces the development of this concept from its roots in the writings of nineteenth‐century Western authors to its use in modern management journals. We show that while this conceptual tool has been adapted over time, the claims associated with it have remained largely similar. Use of the term Confucian entrepreneur implies belief that Confucian ideas induce Chinese entrepreneurs to behave differently than their Western counterparts, a claim for which the empirical foundations are weak. We do not go so far as to say that those who research Chinese entrepreneurship should discard the concept of the Confucian entrepreneur simply because of its historical origins in colonialism. However, we do call on researchers to reflect on the historical origins of their conceptual tools. By historicising our theories of entrepreneurship, this paper should encourage greater scholarly reflexivity and thus the development of entrepreneurship and management theory with greater predictive power.

Job advert: Research Fellow in Business History (15 April)

Cross-posted from the ABH mailing list. Please contact Anna Greenwood for questions.

Research Fellow for the Dept of History


Location:  University Park
Salary:  £28,982 to £37,768 per annum, depending on skills and experience. Salary progression beyond this scale is subject to performance.
Closing Date:  Friday 15 April 2016
Reference:  ARTS031316

Applications are invited for the above Research Assistant post based at University of Nottingham working with Dr Anna Greenwood on her project ‘Boots and the Colonial World: Imperial Networks and the Business of Empire: 1919-1960’. Focusing on a range of colonial and commonwealth regions (India, Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Fiji), the project will analyse Boots’ negotiation of the colonial market between 1919 and the end of Empire in 1960.

The successful candidate will be responsible for undertaking the first mapping of the international history of Boots, working closely with the archivist team at the Walgreens Boots Alliance archive in Nottingham. Duties will include:  archival research, secondary reading, the development of a larger funding bid and the organization of a workshop.

A limited amount of travel and irregular hours are expected as defined by the needs of the role.

Candidates must have a completed doctorate in medical history, colonial history, international history or business history. Some experience of academic event organisation and grant construction would also be desirable.

This full-time post will be offered on a fixed-term contract from 1stSeptember 2016 to 31st August 2017.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Anna Greenwood on email; . Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted.

The University of Nottingham is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.

Full job advert: