CFP: Commercial Networks: Connection, Conflict, Exchange

Claire Arnold's picture

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Call for Papers
February 10, 2023
United States
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Early Modern History and Period Studies, Business History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, World History / Studies

Commercial networks have connected people across regions, cultures, professions, and classes throughout history, and historians have subsequently made use of these networks to study everything from the social production of trust to the diffussion of scientific development to imperial expansion. However, these studies often remain confined to their own subfield, whether geographic or temporal. This conference seeks to consider the commerical network as its own subject. It takes a broad definition of commerical networks that includes formal and informal, legal and illicit, and local and global exchanges. 

What features characterize a commerical network? What relationships are required for them to function? Who has access and who is excluded? How are they distinct from religious or intellectual networks? And do they reinforce, circumvent, or challenge political categories such as nation, state, or empire? 

"Commerical Networks" seeks to bring together graduate students from different geographic and temporal fields whose work addresses the above question. The conference will be held at the Chabraja Center for Historical Study at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL on June 2, 2023. The conference is open to all graduate students. Presentations are limited to 10 minutes each to encourage discussion. Presenters will be arranged into panels after acceptance. 

Intersted graduate students should submit a proposal of 250 words and CV to Claire Arnold at by Feburary 10, 2023. Papers will be selected by a committee of Northwestern faculty. Accepted papers of 10-12 pages will be due in May. 

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Contact Info: 

Claire C Arnold

T.H. Breen Fellow, Chabraja Center for Historical Studies, Northwestern University