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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, Eugene V. Debs

Eugene V. Debs

Citizen and Socialist

Author: Nick Salvatore
Pub Date: March 2007

The triumphs and tragedies of a great American socialist   learn more...

link to catalog page, Glass Towns

Glass Towns

Industry, Labor, and Political Economy in Appalachia, 1890-1930s

Author: Ken Fones-Wolf
Pub Date: January 2007

Exploring a path not taken in Appalachian economic development--one that might have led away from underdevelopment   learn more...

link to catalog page, Gendering Labor History Author: Alice Kessler-Harris
Pub Date: January 2007

The role of gender in the history of the working class world   learn more...

link to catalog page, Radical Unionism in the Midwest, 1900-1950 Author: Rosemary Feurer
Pub Date: September 2006

The dynamic relationship between unionism and radicalism   learn more...

link to catalog page, Bridgeport's Socialist New Deal, 1915-36 Author: Cecelia Bucki
Pub Date: May 2006

learn more...

link to catalog page, Reinventing “The People”

Reinventing “The People”

The Progressive Movement, the Class Problem, and the Origins of Modern Liberalism

Author: Shelton Stromquist
Pub Date: January 2006

On the Progressive myth of a classless society   learn more...

link to catalog page, City of Clerks

City of Clerks

Office and Sales Workers in Philadelphia, 1870-1920

Author: Jerome P. Bjelopera
Pub Date: May 2005

A new class of workers in the city   learn more...

link to catalog page, Labor Embattled

Labor Embattled

History, Power, Rights

Author: David Brody
Pub Date: April 2005

What history has to say about the current crisis of American labor   learn more...

link to catalog page, The Tribe of Black Ulysses

The Tribe of Black Ulysses

African American Lumber Workers in the Jim Crow South

Author: William P. Jones
Pub Date: April 2005

An innovative new study of the largest group of black industrial workers in the South   learn more...

link to catalog page, Waterfront Revolts

Waterfront Revolts

New York and London Dockworkers, 1946-61

Author: Colin J. Davis
Pub Date: November 2003

Comparative examination of NYC and London’s dockworkers rank-and-file union members movements that successfully challenged union hierarchy and nation-states.   learn more...

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