Business History

The Department of History at The Ohio State University offers a program in Business History that is integrated with many other research and teaching areas.
Arising in the 1970s from Professor K. Austin Kerr's interest in American political reform history, the program has expanded to encompass approaches that parallel the evolution of the wider historical profession. Business historians investigate large and small enterprises and the economic, political, and social environments within which they operate in the U.S. and internationally. More specifically, they investigate firm and industry development, managerial strategies and structures, entrepreneurship, business-government relations, management-labor relations, consumerism, and class, race, and gender issues. Faculty in Business History have served students in many of the department's areas, including American History, East Asian History, Military and Diplomatic History, Women's, Gender and Sexuality History, and World History.
Together with Kerr, Professor Mansel G. Blackford co-wrote a leading textbook for undergraduates, Business Enterprise in American History. Blackford has also published articles and books on small business in the U.S., business enterprise compared across national boundaries, and the connections between business and the environment, also comparatively. Professor William R. Childs has written on business-government relations in the United States, including regulatory and infrastructure policy making. In East Asian history, Professor James R. Bartholomew has published on business and science in Japan. Professor Christopher A. Reed has published articles and a book on the business of modern media in China.
Senior Fulbright Lectureships have been held by Kerr (Japan and Germany) and Blackford (Japan, twice). Both have served as president of the leading international scholarly organization, the Business History Conference. Blackford has served on the Board of Editors of the Business History Review. Childs has been active in the BHC as well as in the Economic and Business Historical Society, which he served as Secretary and, for four years, editor of the society's journal, Essays in Economic and Business History (1994-1998). Bartholomew has won a National Science Foundation grant, a Fulbright Research grant, and Guggenheim, NEH, and SSRC fellowships. Reed has received two Fulbright research grants and a joint ACLS/SSRC grant for work in China and Taiwan. He is a member of the AAS-affiliated Chinese Business History Research Group.
Courses in Business History