University of Notre Dame
Hesburgh Center/Kellogg Institute Hesburgh Center/Kellogg Institute Hesburgh Center/Kellogg Institute Hesburgh Center/Kellogg Institute Hesburgh Center/Kellogg Institute Hesburgh Center/Kellogg Institute

Elisabeth KöllElisabeth Köll

Associate Professor of History
(PhD, Oxford University)
473 Decio Hall

Geographic focus: China and East Asia

Thematic interests: Business and economic history of greater China and East Asia, 19th century to the present; relationship between government, markets, and local society; comparative history of industrialization, technology transfer and  infrastructure development  

Current research: I am interested in the managerial, legal, and financial evolution of firms and economic institutions in China from the 19th century to the present. My current book project, “Railroads and the Making of Modern China,” addresses the introduction and expansion of railroad infrastructure and explores how technology transfer, railroad construction and management have contributed to China’s economic and political development as a modern nation-state.

Selected Publications:

“Professional Managers at Political Crossroads: Hsia Pin-fang at the Bank of China in New York and London, 1939–1951,” in Sherman Cochran, ed., The Capitalist Dilemma in China’s Communist Revolution (Cornell East Asia Series/ University of Hawai`i Press, 2014)

“Insurance in China: The Introduction and Indigenisation of the Industry” (with David Faure), in Peter Borscheid and Niels Viggo Haueter, eds., World Insurance: The Evolution of a Global Risk Network (Cambridge University Press, 2012)

“A Fine Balance: Chinese Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship in Historical Perspective,” in William C. Kirby, ed., The PRC at 60—An International Assessment (Harvard University, East Asia Center, 2011)

“Chinese Railroads, Local Society, and Foreign Presence: The Tianjin-Pukou Line in pre-1949 Shandong,” in Bruce A. Elleman and Stephen Kotkin, eds., Manchurian Railways and the Opening of China: An International History (M. E. Sharpe, 2010)

“Paying in Paper: A Government Voucher from the Southern Song” (with William N. Goetzmann), in William N. Goetzmann and K. Geert Rouwenhorst, eds., The Origins of Value: The Financial Innovations That Created Modern Capital Markets (Oxford University Press, 2005)

“The History of Corporate Ownership in China: State Patronage, Company Legislation, and the Issue of Control” (with William N. Goetzmann), in Randall K. Morck, ed., A History of Corporate Governance around the World: Family Business Groups to Professional Managers (University of Chicago Press, National Bureau of Economic Research series, 2005)

From Cotton Mill to Business Empire: The Emergence of Regional Enterprises in Modern China (Harvard University Press, 2003)




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