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Fashions: Business Practices in Historical Perspective

Milan
11 - 13 June 2009

THEMES Fashion, as a concept, refers to much more than the way we dress. For this joint meeting of the Business History Conference (BHC) and the European Business History Association (EBHA), we define fashion in two ways. First, we see fashion as a set of ideas and activities associated with business firms and institutions that persisted over time. A fashion was a durable but often time-bound business practice or conceptual horizon in production, management, marketing, strategy, taste, style, politics, trade, or finance. Fashion as a concept describing business firms and institutions directs our attention to trends, habits, and rules that delineated what was done and what was not to be done. We particularly encourage participants to look at the role of firms, associations, government, consultants, media, and other agents in spreading "fashionable" business styles. As well, we seek presenters who explore fashions in entrepreneurial action, corporate organization and governance, in economics and business studies, and even in the writing of business history. For example, we would welcome papers that trace the flow of business history scholarship into cognate fields such as political science and sociology. Equally valuable would be presentations describing popular ideas about what took place in earlier periods of business. We approach fashion in each of these arenas not as a passing fancy, but instead as a fundamental influence, a horizon of the possible in business that was (and perhaps remains) embedded in concrete practices delineated by discrete turning points that made the previous practice or set of ideas "un-fashionable." In keeping with the conference's location in Milan one of Europe's great industrial and design centers we encourage papers on the business of fashion itself. In this second way of understanding fashion, we refer to the creation of consumer goods whose appeals rested on values such as utility, practicality, design, aesthetics, style, and cultural symbolism. Whether in Renaissance Florence, nineteenth century Europe, or post World War II America, those commodities and their meanings were part of a complex interplay between the parties who created, purchased, and used them. Furthermore, while fashion-industry entrepreneurs and companies have recently emerged as icons of globalization, those actors were also deeply rooted in local contexts and enmeshed in constellations of relationships that included designers, manufacturers, distributors, advertisers, retailers, and consumers. Among many factors, we seek to understand how the local related to the global. Consistent with BHC and EBHA policy and long-time practice, the program committee also will be pleased to entertain submissions not directly related to the conference themes. Potential presenters may submit proposals either for individual papers or for entire panels. Individual paper or poster proposals should include a one-page abstract and a one-page curriculum vitae (CV). The abstract should summarize the argument of the presentation, 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, the name of the panel's contact person, a one-page abstract and author's CV for each proposed paper (up to four), and a list of preferred chairs and commentators with contact information. The deadline for receipt of proposals is 15 September 2008. Please send all proposals to Dr. Roger Horowitz, Secretary-Treasurer, Business History Conference, P.O Box 3630, Wilmington, DE 19807, USA. Phone: (302) 658-2400; fax: (302) 655-3188; email: rh@udel.edu Presenters will be expected to submit paper abstracts for posting directly to the conference website. In addition, presenters are encouraged to post electronic versions of their papers prior to the meeting, and to submit their papers for inclusion in the BHC's on-line proceedings publication, Business and Economic History On-Line. BHC and EBHA colloquia for Graduate students The BHC's Fifth Dissertation Colloquium will be held in conjunction with the 2009 annual meeting. This intensive workshop, sponsored by the BHC and funded by its Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. Fund, will take place at the conference venue Tuesday, 9 June, and Wednesday, 10 June. Participants will work closely with a small, distinguished group of BHC-affiliated scholars, including at least two of its officers. The assembled scholars and students will review dissertation proposals, consider relevant literatures and research strategies, and discuss the business history profession. Limited to ten students, it is intended for doctoral candidates in the early stages of their dissertation projects. Those interested in participating should submit to Roger Horowitz, BHC Secretary-Treasurer (rh@udel.edu), a statement of interest, a preliminary or final dissertation prospectus, and a CV. Please make clear that you are interested in the Dissertation Colloquium. One recommendation from the dissertation supervisor (or prospective supervisor) should also be faxed (302-655-3188) or emailed to Roger Horowitz by 15 December 2008. The review committee will notify all applicants of its decisions after 15 February. Each student participant will receive an honorarium to assist with travel expenses. The EBHA's Fifth Biannual Summer School in Business History will be held in Italy in September 2009. Those interested in participating in this residential, one-week course should write to the school's organizer, Francesca Polese (francesca.polese@unibocconi.it ). The official call for applications will be issued at the end of 2008, and the application deadline is 15 May 2009. Summer school organizers will pay all local costs (accommodation and food), but participants will be expected to pay their travel expenses. BHC and EBHA Prizes Proposals are invited for the BHC's Herman E. Krooss Prize, which is awarded for the best dissertation in business history in the English language. The Krooss Prize Committee welcomes submissions from recent Ph.D.s (2006-2008) in history, economics, business administration, history of science and technology, law, and related fields. To participate in this competition, please indicate so in a cover letter, and include a one-page CV and one-page dissertation abstract. Semi- finalists will be asked to submit copies of their dissertation. Finalists will present summaries of their dissertations at the Milan meeting. The BHC also awards the K. Austin Kerr Prize for the best first paper by a Ph.D. candidate or recent Ph.D. (2006-08). If you wish to participate in this competition at the Milan meeting, please indicate so in your cover letter. Proposals accepted for the Krooss Prize panel are not eligible for the Kerr Prize. Members and non- members are eligible for these prizes. The EBHA Dissertation Competition takes place every second year. The next are scheduled for the EBHA's annual meeting in Bergen, 2008, and then for Glasgow in 2010. For additional information on this competition, see the EBHA website on the Bergen conference. Beginning at the Milan meeting, the EBHA will offer a prize for the Best Paper on European business history. Grants for travel to the Milan meeting In addition to travel grants to participate in the graduate student colloquium, the BHC also offers grants to graduate students who are presenting papers to offset some of the costs of attending the conference. Applicants for a BHC travel grant should so indicate in their cover letter. The EBHA offers travel grants for scholars residing in Eastern Europe who are presenting papers at the conference. Applicants seeking these grants should so indicate in their cover letter. Poster session We encourage presentations at our poster session. Poster sessions are especially appropriate and engaging for scholars at work on a new project, for graduate students developing a thesis, for scholars at every level whose work emphasizes audio/visual materials, and for persons who simply wish to talk with colleagues at greater length than provided in the usual format of a 90 minute session. Applicants for the poster session should so indicate in a cover letter. Program committee Francesca Polese (Chair), Bocconi University: Regina Lee Blaszczyk (Co- chair), University of Pennsylvania & Hagley Museum and Library; Franco Amatori, Bocconi University; Per Boje (EBHA President, 2008-2009), University of Southern Denmark; Albert Carreras, Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Jeff Fear, University of Redlands; Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor, University of California, Davis; Elisabetta Merlo, Bocconi University; Mark Rose (BHC President, 2008-2009), Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Roger Horowitz Associate Director Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society Hagley Museum and Library PO Box 3630 Wilmington DE 19807 rh@udel.edu 302-658-2400, ext. 244 302-655-3188 (fax)


Last updated 13 May 2008