William Payden Associate Professor of History; Acting Associate Dean, College of Arts and Letters
Chinese Socio-Economic and Business History
Executive Education Certificate, Harvard Business School, 2008
D. Phil., Modern Chinese History, University of Oxford, 1998
M.A., University of Bonn, Germany, 1992
Research and Teaching 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 engineering; infrastructure development, especially railroads.
Elisabeth Köll pursued her undergraduate education at the University of Bonn in Germany and at Fudan University, Shanghai. She received her Ph.D. in Chinese Business History from Oxford University where she was a Rhodes Scholar. Based on prior teaching experience in the setting of a history department as well as a business school, Elisabeth’s course portfolio includes courses on Chinese business, economic, and social history as well as on doing business in contemporary China.
Elisabeth'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.
“Professional Managers at Political Crossroads: Hsia Pin-fang at the Bank of China in New York and London, 1939-1951,” pp. 271-97 in The Capitalist Dilemma in China’s Communist Revolution, Sherman Cochran (ed.) (Cornell East Asia Series, 2014)
With David Faure, “Insurance in China: The Introduction and Indigenisation of the Industry”, in World Insurance: The Evolution of a Global Risk Network, Peter Borscheid and Niels Viggo Haueter (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2012)
“A Fine Balance: Chinese Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship in Historical Perspective”, pp. 195-211 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 Manchurian Railways and the Opening of China: An International History, Bruce A. Elleman and Stephen Kotkin (eds.), (M.E. Sharpe, 2010)
With William N. Goetzmann, “Paying in Paper: A Government Voucher from the Southern Song,” William N. Goetzmann and K. Geert Rouwenhorst (eds.), The Origins of Value: The Financial Innovations That Created Modern Capital Markets (Oxford University Press, 2005)
With William N. Goetzmann, “The History of Corporate Ownership in China: State Patronage, Company Legislation, and the Issue of Control,” in Randall K. Morck (ed.), A History of Corporate Governance around the World: Family Business Groups to Professional Managers. (The 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)
Office: 473 Decio
Department of History
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Notre Dame, IN 46556