Across four centuries, from Ireland to India, British colonialism was above all the business of corporations. Corporations conceived, promoted, financed, and governed overseas expansion, making claims over territory and peoples while ensuring that British and colonial society were invested in their ventures.
Breaking from traditional histories in which corporations take a supporting role by doing the dirty work of sovereign states in exchange for commercial monopolies, Philip Stern argues that corporations took the lead in global expansion and administration. Its legacies continue to raise questions about corporate power that are just as relevant today as they were 400 years ago.
Challenging conventional wisdom about where power is held on a global scale, Stern complicates the supposedly firm distinction between private enterprise and the state, offering a new history of the British Empire, as well as a new history of the corporation.
The Massachusetts Historical Society will host “Empire, Incorporated: The Corporations That Built British Colonialism,” a program with Philip Stern of Duke University, on Monday, June 5th.
This program will begin at 6 pm and will be held both in person at the Massachusetts Historical Society, and virtually. Admission is $10 for in person attendance, free for virtual. For more information or to register, click here.