Calls for Papers – Association of Business Historians Annual Conference 2022

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Date / time
01/07/2022 - 02/07/2022, All day

Turning Points and Persistent Problems

Business historians are often drawn to change, attempting to identify the fulcrums that lever advantage or innovation or demise. The opportunity to examine the reaction and interaction of business, the individual, society and the state in the past is assumed to offer insight into the here and now. All business history – at least to some extent – channels Santayana’s observation that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

However, do all business histories approach the commonplace assertions that we revisit, re-examine, and learn the lessons of the past in the same way? What are the assumptions we are making when we link the past to the present? Can we interrogate our assumption that the issues we study are cyclical in ways that still acknowledge that societies grapple with persistent problems?

Historical events, such as crises, crashes, and now (tragically) pandemics, often provide researchers (and conference organisers) with a convenient entry point to the discussion of persistent cyclical problems. But are they necessary for business history to prove its relevance? As a focus on “everyday life” and microhistory recognises, these can be distractions from highly revealing periods of stasis. Equally, a focus on crisis can run the risk of linear narratives that flatten the complexity of changing historical context and contingencies. The conference will especially welcome contributions that include reflections on the way that we frame business history, the uses of history within business and management subjects (and indeed other social sciences), the persistence of problems, and how we position our work in relation to the contemporary challenges experienced by business today. We are keen to encourage a wide range of approaches and different methods of delivery.

How to submit a paper or session proposal

The programme committee will consider both individual papers and entire panels. We are keen to encourage both developmental and mature papers. Individual paper proposals should include a one-page (up to 300-word) abstract and brief biographical note. 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. The deadline for submissions is 22 April 2022.
If you have any questions, please contact the Conference Organisers.
Submissions must be made online. Please upload an abstract, CV, and panel proposal if appropriate.
Any other suggestions for the conference – workshops, poster sessions, panel discussions – should be made to the programme committee


Call for Tony Slaven Doctoral Workshop in Business History, 30 June 2022

The ABH will hold its ninth annual Tony Slaven Doctoral Workshop on 30th June 2022. This event immediately precedes the 2022 ABH Annual Conference at Strathclyde Business School. Participants in the Workshop are encouraged to attend the main ABH Annual Conference following the Workshop. The Workshop is an excellent opportunity for doctoral students to discuss their work with other research students and established academics in business history in an informal and supportive environment. Students at any stage of their doctoral studies, whether in their first year or very close to submitting, are urged to apply. In addition to providing new researchers with an opportunity to discuss their work with experienced researchers in the discipline, the Workshop will also include at least one skill-related session. The Workshop interprets the term ‘business history’ broadly, and it is intended that students in areas such as (but not confined to) the history of management and organizations, international trade and investment, financial or economic history, agricultural history, the history of not-for- profit organisations, government-industry relations, accounting history, social studies of technology, and historians or management or labour will find it useful. Students undertaking topics with a significant business history element but in disciplines other than economic or business history are also welcome. We embrace students researching any era or region of history. Skills sessions are typically led by regular ABH members; in the past these have included ‘getting published’, ‘using historical sources’, and ‘preparing for your viva examination’ sessions. There will be ample time for discussion of each student’s work and the opportunity to gain feedback from active researchers in the field.

How to Apply for the Tony Slaven Workshop

Your application should be no more than 4 pages sent together in a single computer file: 1) a one page CV; 2) one page stating the name(s) of the student’s supervisor(s), the title of the theses (a proposed title is fine), the university and department where the student is registered and the date of commencement of thesis registration; 3) an abstract of the work to be presented.
You may apply via email to Dr Michael Aldous. Please use the subject line “Tony Slaven Workshop” and submit by the 22 April 2022.


Call for Coleman Prize for Best PhD Dissertation, Strathclyde Business School, 1 -2 July 2022

Named in honour of the British business historian Donald Coleman (1920-1995), this prize is awarded annually by the Association of Business Historians to recognise excellence in new research in Britain. It is open to PhD dissertations in Business History (broadly defined) either having a British subject or completed at a British university. All dissertations completed in the previous two calendar years (2020 and 2021) to that of the Prize are eligible. In keeping with the ABH’s broad understanding of business history, applications are strongly encouraged from candidates in economic history, social history, labour history, intellectual history, cultural history, environmental history, the history of science and technology, the history of medicine, or any other subfield. The value of the prize is £500, sponsored by the Taylor & Francis Group, a scholarly publisher. To be eligible for the Prize, finalists must present their findings in person at the Association’s annual conference, held on 1 -2 July 2022. A complete list of previous winners may be found here.

How to Apply for the Coleman Prize

Supervisors are encouraged to nominate recent PhDs, and self-nominations are also strongly welcomed. Please send a PDF including the title of your PhD dissertation and a brief abstract (up to 2 double-spaced pages) to Christine Leslie by 25 March 2022. Shortlisted candidates will be requested to submit electronic copies of their theses 15 April 2022. Finalists will be notified by 13 May 2022.

Everyone appearing on the programme must register for the meeting. PhD students whose papers are accepted for the meeting may apply for funds to partially defray their travel costs by applying to the Francesca Carnevali Travel Grant for PhD Students. A limited number of scholarships are available from the Francesca Carnevali fund of the ABH to contribute towards the travel, accommodation and registration costs of students doing a PhD in the United Kingdom, who are presenting in the Slaven Workshop, the ABH conference or the Coleman Prize. Further details can be found at online.