Senior KIE Fellow Edward Balleisen Honored

Ed Balleisen, Associate Professor of History and Senior Fellow in the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, was recently honored at the annual meeting of the Business History Conference (BCH).

Balleisen specializes in the evolving “culture of American capitalism,” the institutions, values, and practices that have historically both structured and limited commercial activity. At the 2018 BCH, he was awarded 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 Balleisen’s scholarship, including his first book, Navigating Failure: Bankruptcy and Commercial Society in Antebellum America (UNC Press, 2001), as well as his most recent book, Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff (Princeton University Press, 2017). The award citation stressed 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.”

Also at the conference, Balleisen’s Fraud 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.”

The citation noted Balleisen’s teaching and mentoring awards at Duke and his leadership in founding a number of collaborative undertakings, including KIE’s Rethinking Regulation Program and an oral history project on regulatory governance.