Immigrant Entrepreneurship at the Social Science History Conference

The Challenges of Biography: Questions, Reflections, Possible Solutions

The Immigrant Entrepreneurship project has organized a panel at the 38th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, which will take place in Chicago from November 21-24, 2013. Entitled “The Challenges of Biography: Questions, Reflections, Possible Solutions,” the panel will consider various scholarly approaches to individual and collective biography. These will include comparative and transnational approaches as well as network analysis and statistical analysis. The panel is an attempt to respond to questions and challenges that have arisen during the course of the project. As such, it seeks to explore new critical approaches to biography as a means to guard against common pitfalls in biographical research and writing, e.g., the tendency to dwell on the notion of exceptionalism. All of the papers will include case studies accompanied by theoretical reflections.    

The panel will include the following participants/papers: 

  • Chair: Atiba Pertilla (Immigrant Entrepreneurship project, German Historical Institute, Washington DC)
  • Volker Depkat (University of Regensburg)
    The Challenges of Biography: European-American Reflections
  • Susie Pak (St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, New York)
    Writing Biography as a History of Networks: J.P. Morgan and Jacob H. Schiff
  • Clifton Hood (Hobart and William Smith Colleges, New York)
    Counting Who Counts: Method and Findings of a Statistical Analysis of Economic Elites in the New York Region, 1947
  • Levke Harders (University of Bielefeld)
    Legitimizing Biography: Critical Approaches to Biographical Research
  • Comment: Uwe Spiekermann (Immigrant Entrepreneurship project, German Historical Institute, Washington DC)