CFP: The US Antimonopoly Tradition in Global Perspective (Deadline 30 Sept)

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The US Antimonopoly Tradition in Global Perspective

Call for papers, deadline September 30

A two-day research symposium at the Rothermere American Institute, Oxford

December 6-7, 2021


The news media is currently awash with articles, op-eds, and think-pieces on monopoly, antitrust, and democracy’s fraught relationship with big corporations in general, and with Big Tech in particular. President Biden’s Executive Order Promoting Competition in the American Economy, issued on July 9 2021, prompted a new wave of commentary on this topic. Writing in the New York Times, the distinguished labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein traced the lineage of Biden’s antitrust initiative all the way back to the Boston Tea Party and to abolitionists’ attacks on the slave power. “The nation’s antimonopoly tradition,” he wrote, “arises once more.”

Much of this commentary, however, is resolutely national in its framing. It presents antimonopoly’s history almost as if it were hermetically sealed, and as such impervious to the global character of capitalism. Americans, of course, are not the only people around the world worried about bigness, monopoly, or economic concentration. And antimonopoly in the United States may well be more porous, malleable, and mobile than we commonly realise. In order to explore and interrogate antimonopoly in transnational, comparative, and global terms, we will host a two-day conference at the Rothermere American Institute (RAI) at the University of Oxford.

The conference will be interdisciplinary in character, bringing together scholars from across the humanities and social sciences, including legal experts, policy advocates, historians, lawyers, and political scientists. We invite and welcome early-stage research papers from colleagues at all career stages. In thematic terms, papers might address antimonopoly in relation to one or more of the following: 

  • comparative, transnational, or global history
  • history of capitalism, antimonopoly in economic thought
  • law, legal history, legal theory, public policy
  • business history, the history of the firm, history of the corporation
  • transoceanic networks of reform/political activism
  • political theory, political culture, democratic theory
  • white supremacy, racism, settler colonialism, empire, slavery
  • gender history, masculinity and manliness in economic culture, history of sexuality
  • iconography, imagery, cultural representations, media, communications, technology
  • political ideologies, conservatism, liberalism, republicanism, mercantilism, neoliberalism, social democracy, socialism, communism, anarchism, libertarianism, fascism, populism
  • intellectual history, the history of ideas
  • foreign policy, foreign relations, geopolitics, diplomacy, trade


Please send an abstract (up to 500 words) plus a one-page academic CV to the organisers, Dr Daniel Scroop ( and Dr Dan Rowe ( by September 30. Notification of accepted proposals will be by October 14. Notification of accepted proposals will be by October 14. Short papers, which might take the form of brief think-pieces, should be submitted for optional pre-circulation by November 26.

If Covid-related restrictions allow, we plan to bring 8-12 scholars together for a small, in-person gathering in Oxford on December 6-7, with virtual participation for those unable to travel. If a face-to-face event proves impossible, or inappropriate in the context of the pandemic, we will move to a fully virtual format. Please state on your submission whether you are, in principle, willing to travel to Oxford.

We plan for this conference to lead to the publication of an edited volume or a special issue in a peer-reviewed journal.


About the organisers:

Daniel Scroop is writing a book for Johns Hopkins University Press on antimonopoly in US history since 1890. He is the Director of the Andrew Hook Centre for American Studies at the University of Glasgow.

Daniel Rowe teaches U.S. history at the University of Oxford, and is a fellow at the Rothermere American Institute.

Categories: CFP