30th Anniversary of EBHA - Celebrating Business History as a Multidisciplinary Field: Prospects, Comparisons, and Contributions
In the words of Walter Friedman and Geoffrey Jones, Business History must be understood “not as a subdiscipline of history, but as a multidisciplinary field on its own” (2011: 2). How business has been conducted over time and worldwide is an encompassing and multivariate field of study, with different disciplinary contributions and methodologies. The boundaries and scope of this hybrid field have been extended over time. New areas of interest – responsible business and climate change, fraud and corruption, gender and minorities, quasi-firms and non-profit organisations, and the relationship between power and business – just to name a few, have emerged in recent years. Business History’s geographical scope has also expanded, with increasing research on non-Western firms and countries, thus allowing to fill gaps in world-historical knowledge and, especially, to revisit themes such as globalisation, colonialism, and deglobalisation, the nature of the firm and business organisations, and their cultural and institutional embeddedness under the focus of new perspectives.
Those fluid boundaries and enlarged reach sustain intellectual conversations and interactions with neighbouring disciplines, such as economics, sociology, business studies, and different areas of history. These interconnections and cross-disciplinary debates are challenging but also make of Business History a vibrant community of scholars.
The European Business History Association celebrates its three decades of existence in 2024, and its congresses have outlined the field’s development and dynamism. Hence, the multidisciplinary feature of Business History as an area of knowledge brings together a differentiated and shifting community, fluid in its members as the topics investigated. This “open architecture” gives the field the richness, permanent evolution and tensions that characterise it.
With this spirit of diversity and eclecticism, the European Business History Association’s 2024 Congress organisers invite scholars to reflect on the nature of Business History as a multidisciplinary field. It is impossible to enunciate the potential avenues of the rich roster of research and the theoretical and methodological styles currently animating the field. More than adding signposts to any roadmap, the following topics represent glimpses over the breadth, plurality, and vitality of Business History:
Debating the present and future of Business History as a cross-disciplinary field.
Reviewing thematic domains where research has excelled.
Discussing the conundrums and areas of uncertainty.
Emphasising the challenges and opportunities raised by novel questions or ground-breaking approaches to old problems.
Exploring how actors use memory and the past to perceive and organise reality.
Discussing Business History as a teaching practice in different contexts, in humanities and history departments, business schools and economics departments.
How can Business History help address global challenges?
We encourage contributions of the most varied nature: narrative or quantitative, data-driven or predominantly interpretive, practice-oriented or theoretical. Individual papers or panel sessions focusing on national, regional, or sectoral differences are particularly welcome. Moreover, this Congress is ecumenical regarding historical periods, geographical areas, and thematic approaches.
As the next Congress marks EBHA's 30th anniversary, we hope to have proposals for roundtables and panel sessions that look at the past and future contributions of Business History as an area of research or teaching, as well as debating its institutional or social role.
Papers with other topics will be considered as well. Topics such as entrepreneurship, economic growth, innovation, power and business, race and inequality, responsible business, risk, sustainability, and taxation are welcome.
In addition to proposals for individual papers, scholars can send full panel sessions, which will create more coherence within the conference program. For panel sessions, we strongly recommend integrating a variety of comparative national, regional, or sectoral perspectives.
Please see below the requirements for paper and session proposals according to the EBHA Book of Procedures. We also invite other formats, like workshops, debates, and poster presentations. Journals can also propose fast-track sessions.
We are very much looking forward to meeting you in Carcavelos and Lisbon (Portugal) at the EBHA 2024 Congress.
The EBHA 2024 Congress Organising Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dates and rules for paper/session submissions
1 November 2023 – 31 January 2024: Online submission
30 March 2024: Expected decision notification
Requirements for paper proposals
Paper and panel proposals must be submitted online. Please have the following information and documentation ready:
Author information - Affiliation; Short CV (up to 250 words), including authored publications related to the proposal;
Abstract (up to 350 words), including information important to the program committee decision: A clear statement of the research question; Brief information on the theoretical/conceptual framework used; Major research areas to which the paper relates;
Joint papers need one of the authors to attend the conference if the proposal is accepted.
Requirements for session proposals
The criteria for single-paper proposals also apply to session proposals. There is, however, a specific template for session/track proposals. Organised sessions work better because all papers focus on a single theme.
Sessions can be ninety minutes long (usually three papers, a commentator, and a panel chair) or two hours to accommodate four papers. A successful session leaves significant time for the audience to raise questions and comments. Good sessions balance cohesiveness and analytical breadth.
Tracks may combine up to three sessions (e.g., a whole afternoon) to allow for a broader discussion of a specific approach or theme important to the field. Track sessions expect the audience and the presenters to engage in a wider discussion.
Possible convenors of a session/track can make an open call for papers, attracting more audience and generating interesting debates.
Prizes at the 27th Annual Congress of the European Business History Association
The European Business History Association (EBHA) Dissertation Prize
During the 27th Annual Congress of the European Business History Association, the EBHA will award a prize for the best dissertation in Business History. This dissertation should have been submitted to a European university in the previous three years prior to the hand-in deadline, January 15, 2024. The dissertation can be written in English or in another European language.
Three finalists will be selected from the dissertations submitted for consideration, and the authors will be required to give a presentation based on their dissertations at a plenary session at the EBHA congress in Madrid. The presentation is part of the final assessment. All three finalists will receive a certificate that they have been among the short-listed candidates and will be eligible for reimbursement of part of their travel costs. All three will also be entitled for a waiver of their registration fees for the conference. In addition, the prize winner will receive EUR 500 and a special certificate. The finalists are invited to have written versions of their presentations published in the Newsletter of EBHA.
More information at: https://ebha.org/Congress-BestDissertationPrize
EBHA Prize for the best paper
EBHA awards a prize for the best paper on European Business History presented at its annual Congress. The prize consists of a certificate and a cash prize of €250.00. The winner will be announced, and the prize presented at the Congress dinner. More details will be specified at the Congress website.