Symposium on Varieties of Capitalism and Business History, and farewell lecture of Keetie Sluyterman, 19 March 2015

The Department of History and Art History kindly invites you to the symposium organised by the Business History Group at Utrecht University to discuss the recently published volume Varieties of Capitalism and Business History: the Dutch Case, edited by Keetie Sluyterman (Routledge 2015). Economic and business historians, including Geoffrey Jones, Isidor Straus Professor of Business History at Harvard Business School, will challenge the main findings of the various contributors, who were all involved in the research programme Business in the Netherlands in the Twentieth Century (BINT).

The symposium will be followed by the farewell lecture of Keetie Sluyterman, entitled: Spelers op de gecoördineerde markt: een terugblik, at 16.15 in the Aula of the Academiegebouw.


See for more details of the full program: Symposium on Varieties of Capitalism and Business History

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Corporate networks (the links between companies and their leaders) reflect a country’s economic organisation and its corporate governance system. In The Power of Corporate Networks. A Comparative and Historical Perspective, editors Prof. Thomas David (University of Lausanne) and Dr Gerarda Westerhuis (UU) bring together the most internationally well-known specialists to investigate the long-term development of these networks.

Most research on corporate networks focuses on individual countries or particular time periods, making fruitful comparisons over longer periods of time difficult. This book provides a unique long-term analysis of the rise, consolidation, decline, and occasional re-emergence of these networks in fourteen countries across North and South America, Europe, and Asia in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative research approaches, the authors describe the main developments and changes in the corporate network over time. They focus on important network indicators in benchmark years, and identify historical explanations for these developments. This unique, long-term perspective provides readers with insight into how and why national corporate networks change over time.

Joint conference BHC and EBHA, Miami, Florida; 24-27 June, 2015

The 2015 joint meeting of the Business History Conference and the European Business History Association will be held in Miami, Florida, on June 24-27. The theme of the meeting will be “Inequalities: Winners and Losers in Business.”

Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the 21st Century, will deliver the joint meeting’s plenary address.

For more infomation please visit the conference website.

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.

Posthumus Conference, 18-19 April, Eindhoven

The Posthumus Conference 2013 will take place at thy university campus of Eindhoven University of Technology on 18 and 19 April 2013. The plenary session will address European History and the use of Internet for historical research. PhD students will present their work in parallell sessions and the Research Themes will convene in sessions as well. The preliminary program is now available.

Business History Conference, 2013

The Business History Conference annual meeting will take place March 21–23, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Columbus hotel in Columbus, Ohio.The theme of the annual meeting is “The Cultures and Institutions of Business.” For more information see the website of the BHC.

EBHA 2013 Uppsala, Call for papers

The European Business History Association has issued the call for papers for its 17th annual conference, held from 22 to 24 August 2013, at Uppsala University, Sweden.

Conference theme: Innovation and growth

Technical, financial and organizational innovations have all been important drivers of growth. From a local perspective, the interaction between enterprises, innovations and growth has been central in the process of economic growth during three industrial revolutions. European historical experiences also give us insights into these complex relationships on a national, regional and local basis. For example, in the Swedish economy innovation has been fundamental to structural economic changes, as well as functioning as an engine driving the country’s development towards a highly industrialized nation. Scientific innovation and its implementation have also been and still are an important part of local economic development in Uppsala.

Innovation is key to development and sustainable growth, but as observed by Schumpeter, innovations as well as entrepreneurs assume different shapes and forms. As its main theme, this congress will identify the interrelationship between growth and innovation. It is obvious that innovations can result in economic growth. But also, since innovations often lead to changing economic and social structures, they may have a destabilizing effect as well, at least in the short term. It is important for us as business historians to dissect the preconditions for growth and innovation as well as to analyze such processes from a long-term historical perspective even though they often appear complex.

Technical, financial and organizational innovations have often been interrelated but in what ways? Is one kind of innovation a precondition for another? Technical development is an important part of innovation, and with, for example, the help of patent information and statistics it has been possible to identify clusters of company and regional innovation activities. These clusters have also sometimes provided the framework for economic growth. But does the same hold for financial and organizational innovations?

 Suggested issues:

  • How can we understand the interaction between innovation and growth?
  • Are innovative activities more common during periods of economic boom or during times of economic downturn?
  • How can we define innovation today compared to 150 years ago?
  • What are the driving forces behind innovative activities?
  • What factors cause differences between innovations in different countries or regions and over time?
  • How have institutional frameworks supported and/or hindered innovation?
  • What role does the state play in the development of innovation?
  • What is the role of entrepreneurs and innovations in the emergence of enterprises?
  • How do science, innovations and economic growth interact?
  • Which role do innovative activities play for industrial latecomers?
  • How are financial innovations related to growth? Are they preconditions for, or the results of technical and/or organizational innovations?
  • Are financial innovations destabilizing and, if so, in the long or the short term?

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. For paper proposals, please submit a title and abstract of no more than 400 words (one A4 page) along with a one page CV to Session proposals should include a brief abstract of the session along with a one-page abstract and a one-page CV for each participant.

Deadline for all proposals is the 1st of February, 2013. 

Oratie Joost Jonker

Op vrijdag 9 november 2012 hield Joost Jonker, vanwege de Stichting Nederlandsch Economisch-Historisch Archief benoemd tot Bijzonder hoogleraar Bedrijfsgeschiedenis, inclusief de sociale aspecten, zijn oratie met als titel Aller ogen gericht op … ? De relevantie van de bedrijfsgeschiedenis. De volledige tekst van de oratie kunt u downloaden op de NEHA website.