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The Working Class in American History


Acquiring Editor: James Engelhardt
Series Editors: James R. Barrett, Julie Greene, William P. Jones, Alice Kessler-Harris, and Nelson Lichtenstein

The Working Class in American History series publishes research that illuminates the broad dimensions of working people’s influence in North America. We define working-class history capaciously and encourage submissions that explore waged, non-waged, and/or coerced labor, rural and urban settings, and the wide range of labor performed in non-industrial settings, from agriculture to domestic service and beyond. We welcome consideration of the diverse contexts of the lives of those who work, including legal, political, and ideological aspects, as well as parameters of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion, and immigration. As we seek to enhance understanding of pre-industrial and industrializing worlds, we also explore the new challenges that workers face amidst deindustrialization, globalized production, and an expanding service economy. We particularly seek projects that reflect the mobile, international, and diverse nature of capital and labor and apply a transnational or comparative outlook to the study of the working class. We find compelling work that considers the centrality of working people within the history of capitalism.

The series was established in the 1970s by Herbert Gutman, David Brody, and David Montgomery, the enormously influential founders of “the new labor history” that recast the study of the working class into a broad and culturally resonant discipline that influenced scholarship not just in history, but throughout the humanities and social sciences. The current editors of the Illinois series are committed to the expansive vision of its founders, now adapted to the questions posed by the shifting contours of politics, scholarship, and economic and social life in the twenty-first century.

See our featured title flyer here.


link to catalog page, Struggle for the Soul of the Postwar South

Struggle for the Soul of the Postwar South

White Evangelical Protestants and Operation Dixie

Author: Elizabeth Fones-Wolf and Ken Fones-Wolf
Pub Date: April 2015

Religion's role in the ill-fated struggle to unionize white workers in the South   learn more...

link to catalog page, Chicago in the Age of Capital

Chicago in the Age of Capital

Class, Politics, and Democracy during the Civil War and Reconstruction

Author: John B. Jentz and Richard Schneirov
Pub Date: Cloth: 2012; Paper: April 2015

Building a city on a shifting, clashing political economy   learn more...

link to catalog page, Redeeming Time

Redeeming Time

Protestantism and Chicago’s Eight-Hour Movement, 1866-1912

Author: William A. Mirola
Pub Date: January 2015

The role clergy played and didn't play in one of organized labor's greatest victories   learn more...

link to catalog page, Workers in Hard Times

Workers in Hard Times

A Long View of Economic Crises

Author: Edited by Leon Fink, Joseph A. McCartin, and Joan Sangster
Pub Date: February 2014

Historical perspectives on workers, capitalism, and the "Great Recession"   learn more...

link to catalog page, Gleanings of Freedom

Gleanings of Freedom

Free and Slave Labor along the Mason-Dixon Line, 1790-1860

Author: Max Grivno
Pub Date: Cloth: 2011; Paper: November 2014

The transformation of slavery and free labor in the Upper South   learn more...

link to catalog page, The Rise of the Chicago Police Department

The Rise of the Chicago Police Department

Class and Conflict, 1850-1894

Author: Sam Mitrani
Pub Date: January 2014

Class turmoil, labor, and law and order in Chicago   learn more...

link to catalog page, Making the World Safe for Workers

Making the World Safe for Workers

Labor, the Left, and Wilsonian Internationalism

Author: Elizabeth McKillen
Pub Date: November 2013

Labor's contentious response to Woodrow Wilson's international agenda   learn more...

link to catalog page, We Shall Be All

We Shall Be All

A History of the Industrial Workers of the World (abridged ed.)

Author: Melvyn Dubofsky
Pub Date: December 2013

A succinct rendition of Dubofsky’s classic and massive history of the IWW, bringing the story of the Industrial Workers of the World to a new generation   learn more...

link to catalog page, A Contest of Ideas

A Contest of Ideas

Capital, Politics, and Labor

Author: Nelson Lichtenstein
Pub Date: October 2013

Collected essays and provocations from the preeminent labor historian   learn more...

link to catalog page, Wobblies on the Waterfront

Wobblies on the Waterfront

Interracial Unionism in Progressive-Era Philadelphia

Author: Peter Cole
Pub Date: Cloth: 2007; Paper: March 2013

The rise and fall of America’s first truly diverse labor union   learn more...

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