Call for papers, EBHA 2014, Utrecht

On 21-23 August, 2014, Utrecht University will host the yearly congress of the European Business History Association (EBHA). The organization is in cooperation with the Netherlands Economic History Archives (NEHA). The Call for Papers is out now!

Comparative  Business History. Contrasting Regions, Sectors, and Centuries

Most business historians focus firmly on the 20th century and after, while some also deal with the 19th century. Earlier periods receive scant attention and comparisons across centuries are rare. For the 2014 EBHA Utrecht conference we encourage participants to take radically different perspectives and take a long-term view in comparing business activities across different periods of time, to compare similarities and differences, and to reflect about their meaning.

This could for instance take the form of comparing customer relations in the beer industry in the 17th with those in the 20th century, or comparing the position of middlemen in the 18th with that in the 19th century. Contrasting centuries with each other will increase our understanding of the interaction between business strategies and the institutions surrounding the business activities, such as the role of government or the alternation between collaboration and competition between trades. For instance, it could be interesting to put the collaboration between artisans in guilds side-by-side with the collaboration of businessmen in 20th century cartels. Similarly, the present discussion about corporate social responsibility and the moral limits of markets could be enhanced by a study on the role of morality in, say, the 16th or 18th centuries. Therefore we particularly welcome contributions that dare to span centuries.

In addition we invite papers that compare industry sectors in different countries or regions in similar periods. Which factors contributed to the shift of industries from one region to another?  Why did some firms move, while others stayed or transformed their business. What kind of institutional arrangements were important for the evolution of an industry? How do countries differ in their way of organizing their economies and what implications do these differences have for business? We welcome papers discussing the varieties of capitalism. We believe that drawing comparisons is an important instrument for business historians and a gathering of business historians from all over Europe as well as from other parts of the world is the ideal venue for ambitious juggling.

Proposals for papers and/or sessions related to the theme of the conference are especially welcome, although paper and /or session proposals not directly related to the theme will also be considered.

Session proposals and paper proposals can be submitted through the congress website from 16 September 2013 onward. A paper proposal should include a title and an abstract of no more than 400 words plus a brief CV of the author. Session proposals should include a brief abstract of the session along with an abstract plus CV for each participant. The deadline for the submission of session and paper proposals is 15 january 2014.

Click here to go to the Submitting Proposals section.