(Post-)Colonial Business History (PCBH) - Network

The network "(Post-) Colonial Business History (PCBH)" aims at organisational networking, exchange on methodology and theory, and expanding the intersections and connections of two fields of research which so far have been conducted rather independently of each other in the German-speaking world: on the one hand, (global) historical approaches to imperial and post-imperial entanglements, and on the other hand, business history, understood broadly as not just the history of the firm, but of organised business and business activity. Given the increasingly transnational and global perspective on business history, an intensified examination of the coloniality or post-coloniality of companies is indispensable. Post-colonial here refers, at the same time, methodologically to a global decentration of the perspective, and to an awareness for colonial continuities and effects even beyond the period of formal colonialism. Conversely, business history opens up the possibility for global and colonial history to focus more on the economic dimension of historical events and to work on the history of imperial metropolises and colonies as a single, intertwined history, through studying organisational networks of economic activity.

The PCBH network is built with the assumption that (postcolonial) business cannot be captured solely and separately from the perspective of economic, cultural, social and global history; a not only transnational/transimperial and transepochal, but above all also interdisciplinary approach to the subject area must be constitutive. The network aims to foster exchange over relevant recent case studies, to develop such research further programmatically, and thus to constitute and establish (Post-)Colonial Business History as a field of research in Germany or in the German-speaking countries. The participants in the network come from the fields of economic and business history on the one hand, and global history on the other, with a focus on colonial history, African studies and global architectural history. One third of the participants work at non-German, partly non-European institutions.

PCBH is a scientific network project, funded by the DFG.