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Gandhi_with_Jamnalal_Bajaj,_Satyagraha_Ashram,_Wardha,_1934_This conference, which will take place on October 30th at Harvard Business School, aims to survey recent scholarship on the history of business in India and South Asia. It will bring together faculty and students from a range of disciplines, including economic and business history, economics, political science, and strategy. The substance of the discussion, throughout the day, will include the nature of business-government relations; the role of families in business; the rise of corporate social responsibility; and the challenges and opportunities of globalization, including the role of the diaspora.

It will also focus on the growing range of sources available for scholarly research, such as oral histories. It will include discussion of Creating Emerging Markets, a major project being undertaken by the Business History Initiative at HBS. It project includes in-depth interviews conducted by HBS faculty with prominent business leaders from South Asia, and other regions, and a wealth of supporting research material.

The conference is one of many projects focused on India at HBS. In April 2014, the Business History Review released a special issue on Business, Networks, and the State in India. Co-organizer of the conference Professor Geoffrey Jones has also written two HBS case studies on India: “Jamnalal Bajaj, Mahatma Gandhi, and the Struggle for Indian Independence,” and “Can Bollywood Go Global?” Both of these cases, and numerous others, will be made available at the conference.