2016 Business History Conference Call for papers (March 31-April 2, 2016)

Reinterpretation

2016 Business History Conference Annual Meeting

Portland, Oregon, March 31-April 2, 2016

Reinterpretation is the theme of the 2016 Business History Conference meeting. The BHC had its inception in reinterpretation. Much of the early work of the BHC revolved around supporting or refuting Alfred D. Chandler’s once dominant narrative of nineteenth and early twentieth century corporate America, (the rise of the managerial hierarchy, and its spread to other, mostly industrialized, countries). So much was absent in Chandler’s brilliant narrative of the managerial state – the government, the innovative company, the entrepreneur, the network – that its very success at reaching a large and influential, predominantly American, public spawned a generation of corrective and opposing scholarship that lasted to the end of the 20th century. Since then much has been gained from opening geographically and temporally to Europe, Asia, and Latin America and by stretching to intersect with related disciplines. More recently the work of Geoffrey Jones has made us look at the activities of multinationals and the impact of globalization on developing countries in a new way. In related fields of history reinterpretations such as Ira Katznelson’s Fear Itself, which focuses on the U.S. Congress and the shaping of the New Deal, suggests implications for business history that still remain to be explored. Philip Scranton and Patrick Fridenson’s book Reimagining Business History challenges their fellow scholars to rethink fundamental assumptions and to consider what a reimagined past might tell us about the future.

The location of the 2016 BHC meeting in Portland provides the opportunity to consider taking a fresh look at what might be termed the communities of the Pacific. The rise of Atlantic History toward the end of the 20th century spurred a new look at the relationships between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Similarly, a need to understand more of the story of the Pacific should prompt business historians whose work deals with commerce in and between all countries on the Pacific Rim to consider reinterpreting what is known or believed about the commercial relationships and activities that have encircled or spanned the Pacific Ocean for centuries.

The Business History Conference program committee for 2016 — Rowena Olegario (Chair), Peter Coclanis, Marcelo Bucheli, Julia Yongue, and Margaret Graham (BHC President) — encourages panels and individual papers that answer the call to Reinterpretation, expansively interpreted. Topics that examine the forces shaping our future by reinterpreting research related to the Pacific Rim are but one important example of numerous “settled” or incomplete bodies of business history scholarship from which reinterpretation promises to generate fresh constructs and new insights. In keeping with longstanding BHC policy the Program Committee will give equal consideration to submissions not directly related to the conference theme.

All sessions take place at the Embassy Suites Portland-Downtown, located in the historic Multnomah Hotel building. Rooms (all suites) are $145/night and include a full breakfast.

The program committee will consider both individual papers and entire panels. Individual paper proposals should include a one-page (300 word) abstract and one-page curriculum vitae (CV). Panel proposals should include a cover letter stating the rationale for the panel and the name of its contact person; one-page (300 word) abstract and author’s CV for each paper; and a list of preferred panel chairs and commentators with contact information. To submit a proposal go to http://thebhc.org/2016meeting and click on the link Submit a Paper/Panel Proposal.

The K. Austin Kerr Prize will be awarded for the best first paper delivered by a new scholar at the annual meeting. A “new scholar” is defined as a doctoral candidate or a Ph. D. whose degree is less than three years old. You must nominate your paper for this prize on the proposal submission page where indicated. Please check the appropriate box if your proposal qualifies for inclusion in the Kerr Prize competition.

The deadline for receipt of all proposals is 1 October 2015. Acceptance letters will be sent by 31 December 2015.Everyone appearing on the program must register for the meeting. Graduate students and recent PhDs (within 3 years of receipt of degree) whose papers are accepted for the meeting may apply for funds to partially defray their travel costs; information will be sent out once the program has been set.

The BHC awards the Herman E. Krooss Prize for the best dissertation in business history by a recent Ph.D. in history, economics, business administration, the history of science and technology, sociology, law, communications, and related fields. To be eligible, dissertations must be completed in the three calendar years immediately prior to the 2016 annual meeting, and may only be submitted once for the Krooss prize. After the Krooss committee has reviewed the proposals, it will ask semi-finalists to submit copies of their dissertations. Finalists will present summaries of their dissertations at a plenary session of the 2016 BHC annual meeting and will receive a partial subsidy of their travel costs to the meeting. Proposals accepted for the Krooss Prize are not eligible for the Kerr Prize. If you wish to apply for this prize please send a cover letter indicating you are applying for the Krooss prize along with a one-page CV and one-page (300 word) dissertation abstract via email to BHC @ Hagley.org. The deadline for proposals for the Krooss prize is 1 October 2015.

The BHC Doctoral Colloquium in Business History will be held in conjunction with the BHC annual meeting. This prestigious workshop, funded by Cambridge University Press, will take place in Portland Wednesday March 30 and Thursday March 31. Typically limited to ten students, the colloquium is open to early stage doctoral candidates pursuing dissertation research within the broad field of business history, from any relevant discipline. Topics (see link for past examples) may range from the early modern era to the present, and explore societies across the globe. Participants work intensively with a distinguished group of BHC-affiliated scholars (including at least two BHC officers), discussing dissertation proposals, relevant literatures and research strategies, and career trajectories. Applications are due by 15 November 2015 via email to BHC @ Hagley.org should include: a statement of interest; CV; preliminary or final dissertation prospectus (10-15 pages); and a letter of support from your dissertation supervisor (or prospective supervisor). Questions about the colloquium should be sent to its director, Edward Balleisen, eballeis @ duke.edu. All participants receive a stipend that partially defrays travel costs to the annual meeting. Applicants will receive notification of the selection committee’s decisions by 20 December 2015.

General questions regarding the BHC’s 2016 annual meeting may be sent to Secretary-Treasurer Roger Horowitz, rh @ udel.edu.