Professor Simon Ville: Tales of the unexpected: why archival research remains important today

For the contemporary researcher, archival research is often considered antiquarian and too labour intensive to meet the publication demands of the modern corporate university. For the economic historian there is often a choice between long hours spent in the archives and subsequent analysis of scanned documents or obtaining datasets from which to test hypotheses. The tensions between historical and economic methods, both legitimate, run deep in the discipline. Using examples from his own research he will show that working on historical archives is enjoyable, though labour intensive, and provides many original and unexpected outcomes.

Things aren’t always what they appear to be....

About the speaker

Simon Ville is Senior Professor of Economic and Business History at the University of Wollongong, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, and a recent member of the College of Experts at the Australian Research Council (2013–17). He holds a PhD from University College London, has previously worked at ANU, University of Auckland and University of Manchester, and held a visiting fellowship at Harvard Business School. He has written widely on big business, industry associations, social capital, transport history, the Vietnam War, and the rural and resource industries.