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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.

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Labor’s Mind

A History of Working-Class Intellectual Life

Author: Tobias Higbie
Pub Date: January 2019

Stoking the fires of inquiry and activism   learn more...

To Live Here, You Have to Fight

How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice

Author: Jessica Wilkerson
Pub Date: January 2019

Working poor women, feminist activism, and the birth of a new era of grassroots empowerment   learn more...

link to catalog page, Dockworker Power

Dockworker Power

Race and Activism in Durban and the San Francisco Bay Area

Author: Peter Cole
Pub Date: December 2018

Waterfront battles for rights and justice   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: Cloth: 2013; Paper: September 2018

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

link to catalog page, Disruption in Detroit

Disruption in Detroit

Autoworkers and the Elusive Postwar Boom

Author: Daniel J. Clark
Pub Date: October 2018

Waking up from our American Dream of 1950s Detroit   learn more...

link to catalog page, Women Have Always Worked

Women Have Always Worked

A Concise History

Author: Alice Kessler-Harris
Pub Date: October 2018

Updating the foundational book on women at work   learn more...

link to catalog page, Remembering Lattimer

Remembering Lattimer

Labor, Migration, and Race in Pennsylvania Anthracite Country

Author: Paul A. Shackel
Pub Date: October 2018

Coal country, anti-immigrant prejudice, and the meaning of a massacre   learn more...

link to catalog page, Latin American Migrations to the U.S. Heartland

Latin American Migrations to the U.S. Heartland

Changing Social Landscapes in Middle America

Author: Edited by Linda Allegro and Andrew Grant Wood
Pub Date: Cloth: 2013; Paper: 2018

New perspectives on Latin American migration to the interior United States   learn more...

link to catalog page, Frontiers of Labor

Frontiers of Labor

Comparative Histories of the United States and Australia

Author: Edited by Greg Patmore and Shelton Stromquist
Pub Date: April 2018

How workers' experience in two countries illuminates important issues in labor history   learn more...

link to catalog page, Labor Justice across the Americas Author: Edited by Leon Fink and Juan Manuel Palacio
Pub Date: January 2018

Laying a modern cornerstone of labor relations   learn more...

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