Call for Papers

Annual Meeting of the Business History Conference In Conjunction with the Académie François Bourdon


18-20 June 2004, Le Creusot, France

On 18-20 June 2004, the Business History Conference (BHC) will host its annual meeting in Le Creusot, France.

The BHC is the leading scholarly organization in the United States for the study of business history. Le Creusot is a major center for the study of France’s industrial heritage, and the home of the Académie François Bourdon. The Académie is an independent research institute that maintains an archive with many collections on topics in European business history. The Académie also maintains several buildings that were once part of the Schneider Works, long a leading manufacturer of steel, armaments, and metal products. The conference will take place at the Académie, as well as at a nearby château. Le Creusot is located 250 kilometers southeast of Paris, and is a gateway to the culturally rich Burgundy region. It is easily reached from Paris by high-speed train.

Conference Theme

The theme of the conference is “networks.” In the past few years, networks of various kinds have engaged the attention of business historians. Students of the so-called network industries in communications, transportation, energy, and finance have moved beyond the firm and the industry to make networks a focus of inquiry. Other kinds of networks–rooted in geography, professional ties, mutual self-interest, or shared values (such as religious affiliation or educational background)–have figured prominently in recent work on innovation, industrial regions, trade associations, cartels, and enterprises run by women and minorities.

The program committee welcomes proposals that explore business networks, broadly construed. The committee is particularly interested in scholarship that is grounded in research in business archives, trade journals, oral histories, or other primary sources. Among the questions that presenters might wish to consider are the following: · How and to what extent can a focus on networks illuminate central themes in business history?

· How and to what extent can a focus on networks complement the traditional preoccupation of business historians with firms and industries?

· How and to what extent can the study of networks build bridges between business history and other areas of inquiry?

· How and to what extent can the study of networks alter our understanding of the boundaries between business and society?

Note: In keeping with a longstanding tradition of the BHC, the program committee will also entertain submissions on topics that are NOT directly related to the conference theme.


Each year, the Business History Conference awards the Herman E. Krooss Prize to an outstanding dissertation in business history completed in the past three years. The Krooss Prize Committee welcomes submissions from recent Ph.D.’s (2001-4) in history, business administration, the history of science and technology, economics, law, and related fields. If you would like to participate in this competition (and present at the conference), please indicate this in a cover letter, and include a one-page vitae and one-page dissertation abstract.

The Business History Conference also awards the K. Austin Kerr Prize for the best first paper presented by a Ph.D. candidate or recent Ph.D. (2001-4). If you wish to participate in this competition, please indicate this in your paper proposal. Proposals accepted for the dissertation session are not eligible for the Kerr Prize.

Submission Procedures

Potential presenters may submit proposals either for individual papers or for entire panels. Individual paper proposals should include a one-page abstract and a one-page curriculum vitae. The abstract should summarize the argument of the paper, the sources on which it is based, and its relationship to existing scholarship. Each panel proposal should include a cover letter stating the rationale for the session, a one-page abstract and vitae for each proposed paper (up to three), and list of suggested chairs and commentators.

Graduate students who would like to have their dissertations discussed in an informal yet informed dissertation-in-progress workshop should indicate this in a cover letter, and include a one-page vitae and one-page dissertation abstract.

The deadline for the receipt of all proposals is 1 October 2003. All presenters are expected to submit abstracts of their papers for posting on the Business History Conference’s web site. In addition, presenters are encouraged to post electronic versions of their papers prior to the meeting. Graduate students whose papers are accepted for inclusion in the program are eligible for travel grants to help defray the cost of their attendance.

The program committee consists of Richard R. John (chair), University of Illinois at Chicago; Patrick Fridenson, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris; JoAnne Yates, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Reggie Blaszczyk, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia; and Philippe Mioche, University of Aix-Marseille I.

The chair of the Krooss Prize Committee is Andrew Godley, University of Reading, United Kingdom. The chair of the Kerr Prize Committee is Janet Greenlees, University of Manchester, United Kingdom.

Please send all proposals to Roger Horowitz, secretary-treasurer, Business History Conference, P. O. Box 3630, Wilmington, DE 19807, USA. Phone: (302) 658-2400; fax: (302) 655-3188; email [email protected]