Call for Papers for a special issue of Business History on Commodity Trading Companies in the First Global Economy, 1870-1929
Business History calls for articles for a special issue on commodity trading companies in the first global economy. The special issue aims to present new, transnational research on the evolution of global business in the period between 1870 and 1929. Although the issue’s focus is on the activities of commodity trading companies, we seek contributions that engage their historical experience and evolution within a global value chain framework. We therefore welcome proposals for articles that identify the key roles played by commodity trading companies and their interaction with local entrepreneurs, traders and middlemen, multinational companies and political actors in establishing the global value chains for primary commodities that entered the global economy in this period. By investigating how different actors connected and integrated the world through physically moving and transforming commodities, the special issue makes a unique contribution to our understanding of economic globalization and the evolution of global business. Specifically, the issue charts and compares the variety of globalisation trajectories and experiences of companies, commodities and regions in the first global economy.
We welcome proposals covering a wide range of regions and primary commodities, from minerals to metals to energy and soft commodities. Proposed articles should engage with the following research questions: Who were the commodity trading companies that shaped global commodity chains? How did they organise their business across borders and continents? How did they interact with other key actors, such as local entrepreneurs, traders and middlemen, multinational companies and political actors? How did their interaction shape global commodity markets and value chains, and why did these change over time? We especially invite comparative contributions, comparing company cases, regions or commodities over time. We also give preference to articles integrating Western and non-Western perspectives, in particular if they engage with questions of globalization and localization, such as why some localities were more resilient to the penetration of foreign capital than others, how trading companies acted to overcome these barriers and why they succeeded or failed.
Proposals should be submitted before November 30th, 2017 and should be no more than 1,000 words in length. It is also possible to hand in full papers or extended abstracts. Proposals should shortly describe the topic, relevance and brief outline of the paper as well as discuss the method and sources. Selected contributors will be expected to hand in a full paper by early March 2018 and participate in a publication preparation workshop to be held in March 2018. We look to submit final versions for peer-review by late Spring 2018. Please send proposals to Espen Storli (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Marten Boon (email@example.com).