HIST 440 The Corporation: An Intellectual History

History 440, Undergraduate Seminar


Mondays, 2-4:50pm, Waite Phillips Hall 603

Corporations pervade our lives, whether as our employers; producers of goods and services for our consumption; or as the subjects of significant debate over their impact upon governments, markets, and societies. This seminar places this debate in the context of the deeper intellectual history of the concept of ‘corporation,’ tracing its origins and shifting meanings in philosophical and political thought since the medieval period. The course begins by exploring early conceptions of ‘corporation,’ especially in relation to the rise of the joint-stock company. It continues by examining the conceptualizations, critiques, and defenses of ‘corporation’ by political and economic thinkers since the Enlightenment. The course concludes by charting two key developments in modern thought on the corporation that have since proved central to contemporary discussion: the idea that corporations are people; and that they bear some responsibility to society. How did the meaning of ‘corporation’ change over time, and why? Throughout, we will critically engage with an array of primary and secondary sources, aiming to develop better grounds for our own views on modern corporations and their social role. Grading will be based on seminar participation and two papers.  For questions, please email Dr. Siddique at asheeshs@usc.edu.


Dr. Asheesh Siddique is a political, intellectual, and cultural historian of the British empire, early America, and early modern Europe who is interested in the relationship between governance, knowledge, and technology. Siddique’s first book project, tentatively entitled “Paperwork, Governance, and Archive in the British Empire During the Long Eighteenth Century,” examines the changing ways in which the British imperial state used the technology of paper to govern and administer its territories in North America, the Caribbean, and India during a century of immense geopolitical transformation. The project examines both the ways in which documents were developed and used in administration; and the history of their archivization. At USC, Siddique intends to start work on two new projects: a study of the rise of archive-based approaches to writing the history of the American Revolution during the nineteenth century across the Atlantic world; and a conceptual history of “corporation” in Western political, legal, and economic thought from the medieval period to the present.

Siddique received his PhD in History from Columbia University in 2016. Prior to that, he was trained at the University of Oxford (MPhil, 2009) and Princeton University (AB, 2007). His research has been supported by a number of institutions, including the Social Science Research Council, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, and the American Philosophical Society.

Jumpstart & Rossier Minor Info Session!

The Rossier School of Education is offering two exciting opportunities for undergraduate students – our minor program and Jumpstart. We invite you to join us at one of our info sessions to learn more about exploring education both in the classroom and in the community. Pizza will be served!

Date: Thurs, August 25th
Time: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Location: SOS B49

Date: Tues, August 30th
Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Location: SOS B49

Date: Wed, August 31st
Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Location: WPH 403

Jumpstart Recruitment Flyer.JPG

Welcome Back, NGOs! — 9/13, 11:30am, HSH 201

Welcome back!

We hope your Fall semester is off to a great start! The Department of Sociology would like to invite you to lunch on Tuesday, September 13th at 11:30am in HSH 201. Come to learn what’s new and meet your fellow majors, Soci Faculty and graduate students!

Please RSVP HERE by Friday, September 9th. Have great days!

Welcome Back, Sociology — 9/8, 12pm, HSH 201

Welcome back!

We hope your Fall semester is off to a great start! The Department of Sociology would like to invite you to lunch on Thursday, September 8th at 12pm in HSH 201. Come to learn what’s new and meet your fellow majors, Soci Faculty and graduate students! Please RSVP here by Tuesday, September 6th.

Have great days!

Overseas Studies Upcoming Events

Welcome Back!


Email overseas@usc.edu to request an application.  Please indicate the program to which you’re applying (be sure to check minimum eligibility requirements listed in the program brochures on our website).

Application deadlines are listed below:

· August 22nd : Nanzan
· September 13th : Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Ireland (Dublin), Italy, Netherlands, Spain, South Africa & the UK (BADA, King’s, Queen Mary, UCL and the Edinburgh Internship Programme).
· September 27th: All other Dornsife Semester Programs


· Walk-In Advising
· Study Abroad 101 & UK 101 info sessions
· Upcoming program-specific & major-specific info sessions
· Study Abroad Week – Refer to our website for a detailed list of info sessions
· Study Abroad Fair – September 8th from 10-2pm on Trousdale Parkway

USC Investment Office Internship Session

The Investment Office offers internships to students on a part-time basis during the fall and spring semesters and full-time during summer. Meet recruiters and learn about internship opportunities.

9.29.16, 12 – 1PM in GFS 329

Economics Career Bootcamp

A comprehensive career training program for USC Economics students. Guidance from industry leaders on constructing the resume, succeeding in job interviews, and planning a career. Designed in partnership with the Economics Leadership Council and the USC Dornsife Economics Department. Friday, Sept. 9, 8:30am – 4:30pm

RSVP: dornsife.usc.edu/econ/ecb