|Graduate Student Conference at Harvard University, October 26-28, 2006|
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Panels, Participants, and Papers· Beyond Individualism: Capital, Community, and Entrepreneurship
· Reform and the Anti-Capitalist Impulse in American Social Thought
· The Politics of Business / The Business of Politics
· The Politics of Property: Capitalism, Space, and Social Order
· The Margins of the Market: Law and Legitimacy in American Capitalism
Click on the paper title to see the abstract, and on the author's name for biographical information.
Beyond Individualism: Capital, Community, and Entrepreneurship
Tensions between communitarian and individualistic impulses have shaped the history of American capitalism, as Americans across community lines have debated the relationship between private economic activity and the public good. This panel seeks to illuminate these debates by exploring the ways in which economic life was experienced by members of particular communities. The historians in this panel hope to describe economic culture in complex ways by exploring intra- and cross-community disputes concerning values, practices, and beliefs about work, business, and consumption.
Presiding: Rachel St. John, Harvard University
Reform and the Anti-Capitalist Impulse in American Social Thought
Throughout the history of the United States, intellectuals across the ideological spectrum have argued that America’s commitment to industrial capitalism threatened to undermine the American project itself. This panel examines a wide variety of intellectuals and reformers whose questioning of the role of capital in American society led them to surprising conclusions about the nature of American capitalism and its prospects for the future. In particular, the historians on this panel are eager to rethink the origins and meanings of reformist ideologies and the ways in which the desire to transcend or abandon capitalism have shaped American culture.
Presiding: Jeffrey Sklansky, Oregon State University
David Huyssen, Yale University
Paddy Riley, University of California, Berkeley
The Politics of Business / The Business of Politics
This panel will address business and industry as a political force through an exploration of business’s interactions with the state. By examining corporations and business organizations as political actors in specific historical contexts, our panelists hope to complicate ideas about the political interests of business and business leaders and the nature of business’s relationship to the political process.
Presiding: Julian Zelizer, Boston University
The Politics of Property: Capitalism, Space, and Social Order
This panel will examine how disputes concerning property and investment shape the social and economic organization of communities. Through conflicts to define the nature of property, the prerogatives of property-holders, and the use of urban space, these papers emphasize the political basis of transformations in the built environment.
Presiding: Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Andrea Gill, University of California, Santa Barbara
Andrew Heath, University of Pennsylvania
The Margins of the Market: Law and Legitimacy in American Capitalism
It is impossible to understand the history of American capitalism without recognizing the fundamental importance of the American legal system. The historians in this panel explore the relationship between law and capitalism in the United States by examining how the state monitors, controls, and legitimizes economic activity and economic actors. The historical cases addressed by these papers allow us to examine the economic and legal tensions that accompanied the expansion of the American state both across the North American continent and around the world.
Presiding: Christine Desan, Harvard Law School