About

Elisabeth Köll is William Payden Associate Professor of History and Acting Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame.

Köll's research focuses on the managerial, legal, and financial evolution of firms and entrepreneurship in China from the 19th century to the present. Her book From Cotton Mill to Business Enterprise: The Emergence of Regional Enterprises in Modern China shows how concepts, definitions, and interpretations of property rights, corporate structures, and business practices in contemporary China have to be analyzed in terms of their historical, institutional, and cultural roots.

Her current book project, Railroads and the Making of Modern China, addresses the emergence of railroad infrastructure and how technology transfer, railroad construction and management have contributed to China’s economic and political development as a modern nation-state. 

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.

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