To Preserve, Present, and Engage/Préserver, présenter et engager
Pushing the Boundaries: Business History beyond the Discipline.
In the 2020s, business history remains ‘in an inventive mood, bursting with multiple futures and paths forward’ (Kipping et al., 2016; 19). Having moved on from the 20th century preoccupation with large corporations, business historians now engage with a multiplicity of themes and topics. While the discipline has yet to make a significant impact on the curricula of most business schools, and few schools of history teach the subject, judged from the perspective of the high ranking of its major journals business history has established a highly credible position across the social sciences and humanities.
The conference will assess the extent to which the discipline ought to be more ambitious in developing its research agendas. Crucially, we need to change the attitudes of senior university managers to the subject by demonstrating its considerable relevance to students’ intellectual development, as well as influencing the worlds of practice that rarely consider historical perspectives. Although this will provide business historians with major challenges, achieving these aims will generate much greater credibility and offer rich opportunities for the discipline. Above all, we want the discipline to have a wider impact, whether this be on other disciplines or the various worlds of practice, thereby extending the barriers that have limited business history’s potential to influence the world around us.