Business beyond Businesses: Agency, Political Economy & Investors, c.1850-1970

 3-day-event aimed at PhD students in business or economic history or affiliated fields

Dr. Daniel Menning (Universität Tübingen; ZUK 63); Dr. Christopher Miller (University of Glasgow)
20.09.2017 – 22.09.2017
Application dead line:  30.04.2017

The University of Tübingen (Germany) as part of its Institutional Strategy (ZUK 63) has made available funding for an intensive three-day event aimed at PhD students in business or economic history or affiliated fields working on any topic which overlaps with the theme of the school (for more details, see ‘further notes for applicants’, below). Students will be hosted in the historic town of Tübingen, and will present, debate and discuss their work-in-progress with leading international scholars within a world-class university.

The school aims to provide doctoral students with an overview of relevant research and of innovative tools and methodologies in the field of enquiry. It is organised jointly by the Seminar für Neuere Geschichte (Tübingen) and the Centre for Business History in Scotland (University of Glasgow).

The school will take the form of presentations from students (c.25 minutes) and workshops hosted by established experts in the field. The aims of the school are:

1) To deepen students’ understanding of current themes in historical research (and how this can inform their own work).
2) To enhance research skills through masterclasses on methods for researching and writing history.
3) To explore the main theoretical underpinnings particular to business and economic history.
4) To provide a welcoming and convivial environment in which to discuss their research with leading scholars and peers.

Students will benefit from the experience of academics from Tübingen and beyond. Our keynote speaker will be Professor Phil Scranton, of Rutgers University (USA), a world-renowned scholar who has produced numerous books and articles on many different aspects of modern business and technology. Other confirmed participants include Professor Patrick Fridenson (EHESS, France), Professor Ewald Frie (Tübingen), Dr Daniel Menning (Tübingen), and Dr Christopher Miller (Glasgow).

Funding will cover flights and/or trains (up to an agreed limit), accommodation, lunches, and the conference meal for up to ten students. A further ten will be eligible to receive part-funding. There may also be limited space left-over for those wishing to self-fund (or have received funding from their own institution).

Those interested in attending the summer school should send the documents listed below by e-mail to the organisers Dr Daniel Menning ( and Dr Christopher Miller ( The deadline for applications is 1 May 2016. A maximum of 20 funded applicants will be selected and notified shortly afterwards.

1) a brief CV (max two pages)
2) a summary of their PhD (max two pages);
3) a title/abstract for their desired presentation topic (max one page). This should incorporate one or more major themes of the student’s PhD.
4) (desirable) an example of work in progress, e.g. a draft chapter, article, working paper (preferably in English, German or French – though all presentations and discussions will be in English).

To aid interested students, some of the specific questions to be addressed in global, national, regional, and comparative contexts might include the following:

– What constitutes entrepreneurship, innovation or efficiency outside the context of the private profit-seeking firm?
– How did business people moving into other organizations change their ways of doing things, and vice versa? How did they attain (and retain) influence, and have these movements changed over time?
– How have business people and their behavior and attitudes affected the structures and practices of other organizations or politics?
– How have the interrelationships between business and other organizations affected the structures, strategies, and practices of the firm?
– How do business leaders use nonprofit-making activities outside the firm to advance their own entrepreneurial activity through measures to create good will? What impact have charitable donations from business had on technologic or scientific development?
– Are some national or regional governance structures, business networks, more conducive than others to fostering movement and mutual learning between business and organizations than others, and, if so, why?
– How did politicians and businessmen deal with the influence of investors on businesses?
– What were the attitudes in business, government and society towards speculation for pure gain and how did these change over time?
– How were investors with limited or no knowledge in the world of business supposed to survive or, better even, win money in the world of the stock exchange?
– How did technology affect the ability of people to get involved in the world of business?

Further Notes for Applicants


Source: Business beyond Businesses: Agency, Political Economy & Investors, c.1850-1970, 20.09.2017 – 22.09.2017 Tübingen, in: H-Soz-Kult, 27.02.2017.