Ed Balleisen wins awards at the Business History Conference
Edward J. Balleisen, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and Professor of History and Public Policy, received two scholarly recognitions at the 2018 annual meeting Business History Conference (BHC), held in Baltimore.
Balleisen’s Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff (Princeton University Press, 2017), received the Ralph Gomory Book Prize, awarded annually to a volume that demonstrates “the effects of business enterprises on the economic conditions of the countries in which they operate.” The prize committee described Fraud as “deeply-researched, engagingly written, and full of insightful analysis,” and as “an important contribution to the history of business and capitalism.” As the committee further stressed, the book shows how “the American belief in entrepreneurial freedom, relatively unfettered by regulation, has helped make the United States the site for many of the biggest fraudulent business schemes of the last two centuries. A succession of actors and organizations have struggled with finding legal mechanisms to limit fraud without quashing a broader culture of capitalist risk-taking and inventiveness.”
Balleisen also was the recipient of the Harold F. Williamson Award, given every other year to “a mid-career scholar who has made significant contributions to the field of business history.” The Williamson Prize Committee emphasized the excellence of Fraud, as well as Balleisen’s additional scholarship, including his first book, Navigating Failure: Bankruptcy and Commercial Society in Antebellum America (UNC Press, 2001). The award citation stress that “his pioneering insights into the ‘dark side’ of capitalism have helped us to go beyond the usual paeans to market efficiencies and the unalloyed virtues of unfettered entrepreneurship, changing how we approach the history of business.”
The citation further took note of Balleisen’s teaching and mentoring awards at Duke, his leadership in founding a number of collaborative undertakings, such as the Rethinking Regulation Program at Duke’s Kenan Institute for Ethics and an oral history project on regulatory governance, and his extensive service to the Business History Conference over the past decade.
Earlier this spring, Balleisen was also chosen as BHC President-Elect, and will become BHC President for 2019-20. In that capacity, he will preside over the 2020 BHC annual meeting, which will take place in Charlotte.