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New Books in Economic and Business History
55 minutes | Jul 21, 2021
Malte Dold and Tim Krieger, "Ordoliberalism and European Economic Policy: Between Realpolitik and Economic Utopia" (Taylor & Francis, 2021)
Once described as a “German oddity”†, Ordoliberalism was one of a number of new liberalisms that emerged from the political maelstrom of the interwar period. But, unlike the other neoliberal splinters, Ordoliberalism – founded at the University of Freiburg by economist Walter Eucken and jurist Franz Böhm – was quickly tested in the real world.The West Germany rebuilt out of the ashes of war was founded on its principles: rules-based economics, independent agencies protected from politics and the state as arbiter. The country's recovery and successful reunification were a testament to Ordoliberalism’s effectiveness but, as the European Community became a union and created the euro, its other members were keener to import the success than the rules. When crisis struck from 2008, the EU's architecture was severely stress-tested and remains under strain in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.Is the long EU political crisis due to Ordoliberalism or due to its non-implementation? Can and should Ordoliberalism adapt and survive? These are some of the questions addressed in Ordoliberalism and European Economic Policy: Between Realpolitik and Economic Utopia (Routledge paperback, 2021) co-edited by Malte Dold and Tim Krieger. Malte Dold is a Freiburg university graduate who now an assistant professor of economics at Pomona College in California, and Tim Krieger is Freiburg's Wilfried Guth professor of constitutional political economy.*As their book recommendations, Tim Krieger chose Conservative Liberalism, Ordo-liberalism, and the State: Disciplining Democracy and the Market by Kenneth Dyson (OUP Oxford, 2021) and Exit Left: Markets and Mobility in Republican Thought by Robert S. Taylor (OUP Oxford, 2017); and Malte Dold chose The Narrow Corridor: How Nations Struggle for Liberty by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson (Penguin, 2020) and The Idea of Justice by Amartya Sen (Penguin, 2010).Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley Global Advisors (Energy Aspects).†Ordoliberalism: A German oddity? ed. Thorsten Beck and Hans-Helmut Kotz (CEPR Press 2017).
55 minutes | Jul 20, 2021
Steven Klein, "The Work of Politics: Making a Democratic Welfare State" (Cambridge UP, 2020)
The Work of Politics: Making a Democratic Welfare State (Cambridge University Press 2020) advances a new understanding of how democratic social movements work with welfare institutions to challenge structures of domination. Steven Klein develops a novel theory that depicts welfare institutions as “worldly mediators,” or sites of democratic world-making fostering political empowerment and participation within the context of capitalist economic forces. Drawing on the writings of Weber, Arendt, and Habermas, and historical episodes that range from the workers' movement in Bismarck's Germany to post-war Swedish feminism, the book challenges us to rethink the distribution of power in society, as well as the fundamental concerns of democratic theory. Ranging across political theory and intellectual history, The Work of Politics provides a vital contribution to contemporary thinking about the future of the welfare state.Tejas Parasher is Junior Research Fellow in Political Thought and Intellectual History at King’s College, University of Cambridge.
38 minutes | Jul 20, 2021
Nadya Bair, "The Decisive Network: Magnum Photos and the Postwar Image Market" (U California Press, 2020)
The legendary Magnum photo agency has long been associated with heroic lone wolf male photographers such as Frank Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson, roaming the world in search of the “decisive moment” – the perfect shot that captured the essence of a major news story. Nadya Bair’s highly original book The Decisive Network: Magnum Photos and the Postwar Image Market (University of California Press 2020) argues that this idealized portrayal of Magnum occludes the larger networks within which these photographers operated, including the crucial roles performed by often female office staff, by picture editors and corporate clients. She sets out to show that right from the outset, Magnum was also a business operation, one that pioneered modern ideas of branding borrowed from advertising agencies and commercial partners.Drawing on extensive archival work and including numerous images of photo page spreads, The Decisive Network presents Magnum in a novel and distinctive light, as the framer of new global imaginaries that reflected the evolution of post-war capitalism.Nadya Bair is an assistant professor of art history at Hamilton CollegeFor digital explorations of the Magnum network, see Nadya’s fascinating website.Duncan McCargo is an eclectic, internationalist political scientist and literature buff: his day job is directing the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies at the University of Copenhagen. Learn more here, here, here, and here.
50 minutes | Jul 15, 2021
Adam Crymble, "Technology and the Historian: Transformations in the Digital Age" (U Illinois Press, 2021)
The digital age has touched and changed pretty much everything, even altering how historical research is practiced. In his new book Technology and the Historian: Transformations in the Digital Age (University of Illinois Press, 2021), Adam Crymble makes a meta-historical account of how digital and technological advances have impacted historical research, collection management, education, and communication. Our discussion highlights the balance required when creating digital standards and research practices in a dynamic and ever-changing scholarly ecosystem, and how technology has and can be used to disrupt the scholarly status-quo (for better or for worse). Additionally, we talk about the challenges of keeping archives online and relevant along with the exciting emergence of community-lead digital history projects.Sarah Kearns (@annotated_sci) is an acquisition editor for an open scholarship publishing platform, a freelance science writer, and loves baking bread.
24 minutes | Jul 14, 2021
Catharina Gabrielsson et al., "Neoliberalism on the Ground: Architecture and Transformation from the 1960s to the Present" (U Pittsburgh Press, 2020)
Architecture and urbanism have contributed to one of the most sweeping transformations of our times. Over the past four decades, neoliberalism has been not only a dominant paradigm in politics but a process of bricks and mortar in everyday life. Rather than to ask what a neoliberal architecture looks like, or how architecture represents neoliberalism, this volume examines the multivalent role of architecture and urbanism in geographically variable yet interconnected processes of neoliberal transformation across scales—from China, Turkey, South Africa, Argentina, Mexico, the United States, Britain, Sweden, and Czechoslovakia. Analyzing how buildings and urban projects in different regions since the 1960s have served in the implementation of concrete policies such as privatization, fiscal reform, deregulation, state restructuring, and the expansion of free trade, contributors reveal neoliberalism as a process marked by historical contingency. Neoliberalism on the Ground: Architecture and Transformation from the 1960s to the Present (U Pittsburgh Press, 2020) fundamentally reframes accepted narratives of both neoliberalism and postmodernism by demonstrating how architecture has articulated changing relationships between state, society, and economy since the 1960s.Bryan Toepfer, AIA, NCARB, CAPM is the Principal Architect for TOEPFER Architecture, PLLC, an Architecture firm specializing in Residential Architecture and Virtual Reality. He has authored two books, “Contractors CANNOT Build Your House,” and “Six Months Now, ARCHITECT for Life.” He is an Adjunct Professor at Alfred State College and the Director of Education for the AIA Rochester Board of Directors. Always eager to help anyone understand the world of Architecture, he can be reached by sending an email to btoepfer@toepferarchitecture.
64 minutes | Jul 14, 2021
Ruth Ahnert et al., "The Network Turn: Changing Perspectives in the Humanities" (Cambridge UP, 2021)
We live in a networked world. Online social networking platforms and the World Wide Web have changed how society thinks about connectivity. Because of the technological nature of such networks, their study has predominantly taken place within the domains of computer science and related scientific fields. But arts and humanities scholars are increasingly using the same kinds of visual and quantitative analysis to shed light on aspects of culture and society hitherto concealed. Written by Ruth Ahnert, Sebastian Ahnert, Nicole Coleman, and Scott Weingart, The Network Turn: Changing Perspectives in the Humanities (Cambridge UP, 2021) contends that networks are a category of study that cuts across traditional academic barriers, uniting diverse disciplines through a shared understanding of complexity in our world. Moreover, we are at a moment in time when it is crucial that arts and humanities scholars join the critique of how large-scale network data and advanced network analysis are being harnessed for the purposes of power, surveillance, and commercial gain.Ruth Ahnert is Professor of Literary History and Digital Humanities, Queen Mary University of London.Sebastian Ahnert is University Lecturer, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge.Nicole Coleman is Digital Research Architect, Stanford University Libraries.Scott Weingart is Director of the Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship at the University of Notre Dame.Katie McDonough is Senior Research Associate, The Alan Turing Institute.
59 minutes | Jul 13, 2021
Joe Allen, "The Package King: A Rank and File History of UPS" (Haymarket Books, 2020)
If the 20th Century was the American Century, it was also UPS's Century. Joe Allen's The Package King: A Rank and File History of UPS (Haymarket Books, 2020), tears down the Brown Wall surrounding one of America's most admired companies—the United Parcel Service (UPS). The company that we see everyday but know so little about. How did a company that began as a bicycle messenger service in Seattle, Washington become a global behemoth? How did it displace General Motors, the very symbol of American capitalism, to become the largest, private sector, unionized employer in the United States? And, at what cost to its workers and surrounding communities? Will it remain the Package King in the 21st Century or will be dethroned by Amazon?Joe Allen worked for nearly a decade at UPS between its Watertown, Massachusetts and Chicago, Illinois Jefferson Street hubs. Allen's work life has largely involved different sections of freight and logistics including for such major employers as A.P.A Transport (Canton, Mass.), Yellow Freight (Maspeth, NY), and UPS. He has been a member of several Teamster local unions and a member of Teamsters for a Democratic Union.Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020). Visit him online at ZalmanNewfield.com.
61 minutes | Jul 12, 2021
Alan McDougall, "Contested Fields: A Global History of Modern Football" (U Toronto Press, 2020)
Today we are joined by Alan McDougall, Professor of History at the University of Guelph, and the author of Contested Fields: A Global History of Modern Football (University of Toronto Press, 2020). In our conversation we discussed football’s role in global migrations from the 19th to the 21st century, global football’s changing economic conditions from grassroots pastime to neo-liberal ‘big business,’ and the many roles that spectators and stadiums have played in shaping the game.In Contested Fields, McDougall offers an innovative history of football since 1863. Rather than proceed chronologically, examining football emanating from England outward only colonial lines, his work is organized thematically with chapters on: migrations, money, competitions, gender, race, space, spectators, and confrontations. Through his themed chapters, McDougall draws together parallel phenomenon that typically appear only in national histories. For example, his chapter on spaces looks at the development of stadiums and their uses in diverse national and international contexts. In the chapter on confrontations, he traces the similarities and differences between the ways states – including authoritarian, democratic, post-colonial and developing -- used football for political ends.Throughout McDougall’s thematic approach allows him to transcend the usual conventions of football writing. For instance, although incisive commentary on gender emerges in many sections of the book, he uses his chapter on the gender politics of football inside and outside of Europe to rewrite the origins of the game. Eschewing the language of ‘women’s football’ he reframes the games origins as a history of resistance and oppression. Similarly, his chapter on spectatorship pushes past the more common discussion of hooliganism to draw on the transnational links between fan movements around the globe.An pioneering and pithy account, pitched to people interested in global and transnational histories, readers interested in sport and sports studies will undoubtedly find its approaches and conclusions insightful.Keith Rathbone is a senior lecturer at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He researches twentieth-century French social and cultural history. His manuscript, entitled Sport and physical culture in Occupied France: Authoritarianism, agency, and everyday life, examines physical education and sports in order to better understand civic life under the dual authoritarian systems of the German Occupation and the Vichy Regime. It will come out with Manchester University Press in 2021. If you have a title to suggest for this podcast, please contact him at email@example.com.
61 minutes | Jul 8, 2021
Rod Phillips, "French Wine: A History" (U California Press, 2016)
Today on New Books in History, Rod Phillips, Professor of History at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, talks about his book, French Wine: A History, out in 2016 with the University of California Press, and published in paperback in 2020.For centuries, wine has been associated with France more than with any other country. France remains one of the world’s leading wine producers by volume and enjoys unrivaled cultural recognition for its wine. If any wine regions are global household names, they are French regions such as Champagne, Bordeaux, and Burgundy. Within the wine world, products from French regions are still benchmarks for many wines.French Wine is the first synthetic history of wine in France: from Etruscan, Greek, and Roman imports and the adoption of wine by beer-drinking Gauls to its present status within the global marketplace. Rod Phillips places the history of grape growing and winemaking in each of the country’s major regions within broad historical and cultural contexts.Examining a range of influences on the wine industry, wine trade, and wine itself, the book explores religion, economics, politics, revolution, and war, as well as climate and vine diseases. French Wine is the essential reference on French wine for collectors, consumers, sommeliers, and industry professionals. Jana Byars is the Academic Director of Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender.
31 minutes | Jul 5, 2021
Papermaking Traditions, East and West: A Discussion with Timo Särkkä
Our relationship to paper and paper products is changing every day. Fewer newspapers and magazines are in print, but growing dependence on online retail has increased demand for cardboard packaging. Have you ever wondered how it all began? Listen to scholar on global economic history Timo Särkkä explain the history of Arabic and East Asian papermaking traditions, India's crucial role within the British empire, and issues of sustainability in the pulp and paper industries.Dr. Särkkä is a researcher in the department of History and Ethnography at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland) and a visiting professor at the Institute for Open and Transdisciplinary Research Initiatives, Global History Division, Osaka University (Japan).His most recent publication is Paper and the British Empire: The Quest for Imperial Raw Materials, 1861-1960 (Routledge, 2021):The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Asianettverket at the University of Oslo, and the Stockholm Centre for Global Asia at Stockholm University.We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.About NIAS: www.nias.ku.dkTranscripts of the Nordic Asia Podcasts: http://www.nias.ku.dk/nordic-asia-podcast
57 minutes | Jul 1, 2021
Stephen V. Bittner, "Whites and Reds: A History of Wine in the Lands of Tsar and Commissar" (Oxford UP, 2021)
Whites and Reds: A History of Wine in the Lands of Tsar and Commissar (Oxford UP, 2021) tells the story of Russia's encounter with viniculture and winemaking. Rooted in the early-seventeenth century, embraced by Peter the Great, and then magnified many times over by the annexation of the indigenous wine economies and cultures of Georgia, Crimea, and Moldova in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, viniculture and winemaking became an important indicator of Russia's place at the European table. While the Russian Revolution in 1917 left many of the empire's vineyards and wineries in ruins, it did not alter the political and cultural meanings attached to wine. Stalin himself embraced champagne as part of the good life of socialism, and the Soviet Union became a winemaking superpower in its own right, trailing only Spain, Italy, and France in the volume of its production.Whites and Reds illuminates the ideas, controversies, political alliances, technologies, business practices, international networks, and, of course, the growers, vintners, connoisseurs, and consumers who shaped the history of wine in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union over more than two centuries. Because wine was domesticated by virtue of imperialism, its history reveals many of the instabilities and peculiarities of the Russian and Soviet empires. Over two centuries, the production and consumption patterns of peripheral territories near the Black Sea and in the Caucasus became a hallmark of Russian and Soviet civilizational identity and cultural refinement. Wine in Russia was always more than something to drink.Stephen Bittner is Professor of History at Sonoma State University. In addition to Whites and Reds, he is the author of The Many Lives of Khrushchev’s Thaw (2008) and the editor of Dmitrii Shepilov’s memoir, The Kremlin’s Scholar (2007). Steven Seegel is Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
64 minutes | Jun 30, 2021
J. Laite, "Common Prostitutes and Ordinary Citizens: Commercial Sex in London, 1885-1960" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2012)
Between 1885 and 1960, laws and policies designed to repress prostitution dramatically shaped London's commercial sex industry. J. Laite's book Common Prostitutes and Ordinary Citizens: Commercial Sex in London, 1885-1960 (Palgrave MacMillan, 2012) examines how laws translated into street-level reality, explores how women who sold sex experienced criminalization, and charts the complex dimensions of the underground sexual economy in the modern metropolis.Rachel Stuart is a sex work researcher whose primary interest is the lived experiences of sex workers.
71 minutes | Jun 30, 2021
C. Patterson Giersch, "Corporate Conquests: Business, the State, and the Origins of Ethnic Inequality in Southwest China" (Stanford UP, 2020)
Tenacious patterns of ethnic and economic inequality persist in the rural, largely minority regions of China's north- and southwest. Such inequality is commonly attributed to geography, access to resources, and recent political developments. In Corporate Conquests: Business, the State, and the Origins of Ethnic Inequality in Southwest China (Stanford University Press, 2020), C. Patterson Giersch provides a desperately-needed challenge to these conventional understandings by tracing the disempowerment of minority communities to the very beginnings of China's modern development. Focusing on the emergence of private and state corporations in Yunnan Province during the late 1800s and early 1900s, the book reveals how entrepreneurs centralized corporate power even as they expanded their businesses throughout the Southwest and into Tibet, Southeast Asia, and eastern China. Bringing wealth and cosmopolitan lifestyles to their hometowns, the merchant-owners also gained greater access to commodities at the expense of the Southwest's many indigenous minority communities. Meanwhile, new concepts of development shaped the creation of state-run corporations, which further concentrated resources in the hands of outsiders. The book reveals how important new ideas and structures of power, now central to the Communist Party's repertoire of rule and oppression, were forged, not along China's east coast, but along the nation's internal borderlands. It is a must-read for anyone wishing to learn about China's unique state capitalism and its contribution to inequality.Huiying Chen is a Ph.D. candidate at University of Illinois at Chicago. She researches on the history of travel in eighteenth-century China. She can be reached at hchen87 AT uic.edu
46 minutes | Jun 29, 2021
Claire L. Jones, "The Business of Birth Control: Contraception and Commerce in Britain before the Sexual Revolution" (Manchester UP, 2020)
How does understanding business help us understand sex? In The Business of Birth Control: Contraception and Commerce in Britain before the Sexual Revolution (Manchester UP, 2020), Claire Jones, a Senior Lecturer in the History of Medicine at the University of Kent, explores the intersection of commerce and medicine in the interwar period in Britain, as a way of rethinking both the history of contraception and the history of sex. The book uses new archival research, as well as perspectives from business history, to show changing attitudes and practices of people, clinics, and companies in the era before the contraceptive pill. Charting the rise of a new consumer culture, intertwined with company, technology, and medical history, the book is essential reading across the arts, humanities, and social sciences, as well as for anyone interested in sex! Dave O'Brien is Chancellor's Fellow, Cultural and Creative Industries, at the University of Edinburgh's College of Art.
70 minutes | Jun 29, 2021
Peter E. Hamilton, "Made in Hong Kong: Transpacific Networks and a New History of Globalization" (Columbia UP, 2021)
Between 1949 and 1997, Hong Kong transformed from a struggling British colonial outpost into a global financial capital. Made in Hong Kong: Transpacific Networks and a New History of Globalization (Columbia University Press, 2021) delivers a new narrative of this metamorphosis, revealing Hong Kong both as a critical engine in the expansion and remaking of postwar global capitalism and as the linchpin of Sino-U.S. trade since the 1970s.In Made in Hong Kong, Peter E. Hamilton explores the role of an overlooked transnational Chinese elite who fled to Hong Kong amid war and revolution. Despite losing material possessions, these industrialists, bankers, academics, and other professionals retained crucial connections to the United States. They used these relationships to enmesh themselves and Hong Kong with the U.S. through commercial ties and higher education. By the 1960s, Hong Kong had become a manufacturing powerhouse supplying American consumers, and by the 1970s it was the world’s largest sender of foreign students to American colleges and universities. Hong Kong’s reorientation toward U.S. international leadership enabled its transplanted Chinese elites to benefit from expanding American influence in Asia and positioned them to act as shepherds to China’s reengagement with global capitalism. After China’s reforms accelerated under Deng Xiaoping, Hong Kong became a crucial node for China’s export-driven development, connecting Chinese labor with the U.S. market.Peter E. Hamilton is a historian of China and the World. From fall 2021, he will be Assistant Professor in World History at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. His research has been published in Twentieth-Century China, The International History of Review, The Journal of Historical Sociology, and numerous media outlets.Ghassan Moazzin is an Assistant Professor at the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of History at the University of Hong Kong. He works on the economic and business history of 19th and 20th century China, with a particular focus on the history of foreign banking, international finance and electricity in modern China. His first book, tentatively titled Banking on the Chinese Frontier: Foreign Banks and Global Finance in Modern China, 1870–1919, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.
51 minutes | Jun 29, 2021
Benjamin Lorr, "The Secret Life of Groceries: The Dark Miracle of the American Supermarket" (Penguin, 2020)
This episode of the New Books in Economic and Business History is an interview with New York writer Benjamin Lorr. Benjamin Lorr is the author of ofHell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga, a book that explores the Bikram Yoga community and movement. His second book, The Secret Life of Groceries: The Dark Miracle of the American Supermarket is "an extraordinary investigation into the human lives at the heart of the American grocery store. The miracle of the supermarket has never been more apparent. Like the doctors and nurses who care for the sick, suddenly the men and women who stock our shelves and operate our warehouses are understood as ‘essential’ workers, providing a quality of life we all too easily take for granted. But the sad truth is that the grocery industry has been failing these workers for decades.In this page-turning expose, author Benjamin Lorr pulls back the curtain on the highly secretive grocery industry. Combining deep sourcing, immersive reporting, and sharp, often laugh-out-loud prose, Lorr leads a wild investigation, asking what does it take to run a supermarket? How does our food get on the shelves? And who suffers for our increasing demands for convenience and efficiency?"Listen to the interview, read more about Benjamin Lorr, or buy his book The Secret Life of Groceries: The Dark Miracle of the American Supermarket.Paula De La Cruz-Fernandez is a consultant, historian, and digital editor. New Books Network en español editor. Edita CEO.
52 minutes | Jun 23, 2021
Sarah K. Mock, "Farm (and Other F Words): The Rise and Fall of the Small Family Farm" (New Degree Press, 2021)
In Farm (and Other F Words): The Rise and Fall of the Small Family Farm (New Degree Press, 2021), Sarah K. Mock seeks to answer “what exactly do we mean by a Good Farm?” She looks at size, income, and age, among other factors that might be metrics of a Good Farm. Using USDA NASS data, farmer interviews, and experience Sarah shares some not so easy to hear perspectives. In this interview, Sarah discusses the systems at play, most working exactly as intended, that are preventing agribusiness from operating as businesses at all. We discuss the lack of mechanisms to remove ineffective or harmful farmers, why more farms don’t grow food (e.g., fruits and vegetables), and whether rich farmers grow food for poor people while poor farmers grow food for rich people. In the last moments of the book, and our interview, Sarah reveals a potential solution – Big Team Farms. What are they? Come find out.
47 minutes | Jun 22, 2021
Zachary Karabell, "Inside Money: Brown Brothers Harriman and the American Way of Power" (Penguin, 2021)
In 1800 a Belfast linen merchant named Alexander Brown emigrated with his wife and eldest son to Baltimore. Today his family’s name lives on in the investment firm Brown Brothers Harriman, a company that has long played an outsized role in American history. As Zachary Karabell details in his book Inside Money: Brown Brothers Harriman and the American Way of Power (Penguin, 2021), a key factor in its endurance over the country’s long and often tumultuous financial history has been the importance it has accorded to the values of trust and reputation which Alexander Brown championed. These he taught to his sons, who branched out beyond Baltimore and Liverpool and spearheaded the transition from trade into finance. By the second generation the Browns were fixtures in both London and New York, from where their respective firms endured the Civil War and grew as the country expanded.By the end of the 19th century Brown Brothers was among the nation’s elite financial firms. Karabell shows how their founder’s values were shared by the others of a new emergent ruling, who were educated at a handful of top schools and who moved easily between finance and politics. Though Brown Brothers steered clear of the volatile transactions that were associated with the Gilded Age, they formed ties with some of its participants, most notably railroad tycoon and financier E. H. Harriman. It was the financial firm created by Harriman’s sons Averell and Roland that merged with Brown Brothers in 1930 to create Brown Brothers Harriman, which nurtured a generation of cabinet members, governors, and United States senators. As Karabell demonstrates, these leaders carried forward the ideals Alexander Brown advocated, which have not only shaped America’s role in the world but have ensured the firm’s survival while its counterparts around them have risen and fallen in the unrestrained pursuit of wealth.
27 minutes | Jun 22, 2021
Shane Hamilton, "Supermarket USA: Food and Power in the Cold War Farms Race" (Yale UP, 2018)
This episode of the New Books in Economic and Business History is an interview with Dr. Shane Hamilton, Senior Lecturer in Management at The York Management School, University of York. There he teaches Strategy and Business Humanities. He is the author of Trucking Country: The Road to America's Wal-Mart Economy (Princeton, 2008) and he is associate editor of Enterprise & Society and co-editor of the book series American Business, Politics, and Society of the University of Pennsylvania Press. He has published articles on food and agribusiness in different journals such as the Technology & Culture, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, History of Retailing and Consumption, Enterprise & Society, Business History Review, and Agricultural History. Today our interview is centered around Professor Hamilton’s latest book Supermarket USA, Food and Power in the Cold War Farms Race (published by Yale University Press in 2018). America fought the Cold War in part through supermarkets—and the food economy pioneered then has helped shape the way we eat today Supermarkets were invented in the United States, and from the 1940s on they made their way around the world, often explicitly to carry American‘ style economic culture with them. This innovative history tells us how supermarkets were used as anticommunist weapons during the Cold War, and how that has shaped our current food system. The widespread appeal of supermarkets as weapons of free enterprise contributed to a “farms race” between the United States and the Soviet Union, as the superpowers vied to show that their contrasting approaches to food production and distribution were best suited to an abundant future. In the aftermath of the Cold War, U.S. food power was transformed into a global system of market power, laying the groundwork for the emergence of our contemporary world, in which transnational supermarkets operate as powerful institutions in a global food economy.I recommend you visit Dr. Shane Hamilton’s website to learn about all his publications.Paula De La Cruz-Fernandez is a consultant, historian, and digital editor. New Books Network en español editor. Edita CEO.
69 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
Emma Rothschild, "An Infinite History: The Story of a Family in France over Three Centuries" (Princeton UP, 2021)
Emma Rothschild’s new book, An Infinite History: The Story of a Family in France over Three Centuries (Princeton University Press, 2021) (see the book’s accompanying website here: https://infinitehistory.org), is a beautiful work that, by following the lives of one obscure family over five generations, weaves together a history of France through the momentous revolutions and economic transformations of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In this conversation, Emma talks to Yi Ning Chang about the puzzles of writing micro-, meso-, and macrohistory, about the literary and the historical, and about what it might mean for the historian to treat every historical story as one of potentially infinite possibilities.Marie Aymard was an illiterate widow who lived in the provincial town of Angoulême in southwestern France, a place where seemingly nothing ever happened. Yet, in 1764, she made her fleeting mark on the historical record through two documents: a power of attorney in connection with the property of her late husband, a carpenter on the island of Grenada, and a prenuptial contract for her daughter, signed by eighty-three people in Angoulême. Who was Marie Aymard? Who were all these people? And why were they together on a dark afternoon in December 1764? Beginning with these questions, An Infinite History offers a panoramic look at an extended family over five generations. Through ninety-eight connected stories about inquisitive, sociable individuals, ending with Marie Aymard’s great-great granddaughter in 1906, Emma Rothschild unfurls an innovative modern history of social and family networks, emigration, immobility, the French Revolution, and the transformation of nineteenth-century economic life.Rothschild spins a vast narrative resembling a period novel, one that looks at a large, obscure family, of whom almost no private letters survive, whose members traveled to Syria, Mexico, and Tahiti, and whose destinies were profoundly unequal, from a seamstress living in poverty in Paris to her third cousin, the cardinal of Algiers. Rothschild not only draws on discoveries in local archives but also uses new technologies, including the visualization of social networks, large-scale searches, and groundbreaking methods of genealogical research.An Infinite History demonstrates how the ordinary lives of one family over three centuries can constitute a remarkable record of deep social and economic changes.Yi Ning Chang is a PhD student in political theory at the Department of Government at Harvard University. She works on the history of contemporary political thought, postcolonial theory and race, and the global histories of anticolonialism and anti-imperialism in Southeast Asia. Yi Ning can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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