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The Working Class in American History

Acquiring Editor: Alison K. Syring
Series Editors: James R. Barrett, Thavolia Glymph, Julie Greene, William P. Jones, 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.

link to catalog page, Race, Class, and Power in the Alabama Coalfields, 1908-21 Author: Brian Kelly
Pub Date: April 2001

How white elites fomented racial discord among workers   learn more...

link to catalog page, Southern Workers and the Search for Community

Southern Workers and the Search for Community

Spartanburg County, South Carolina

Author: G. C. Waldrep III
Pub Date: September 2000

The sordid partnership between corporations and government that opposed labor unions in the South   learn more...

link to catalog page, Hard Work

Hard Work

The Making of Labor History

Author: Melvyn Dubofsky
Pub Date: May 2000

A career-spanning collection of writings by the legendary labor historian   learn more...

link to catalog page,

"Rights, Not Roses"

Unions and the Rise of Working-Class Feminism, 1945-80

Author: Dennis A. Deslippe
Pub Date: January 2000

Working class feminism, the meaning of equality, and the gendered nature of equal rights   learn more...

link to catalog page, AlabamaNorth


African-American Migrants, Community, and Working-Class Activism in Cleveland, 1915-45

Author: Kimberley L. Phillips
Pub Date: 1999

How southern black women built new lives and new communities in a northern city   learn more...

link to catalog page, Labor Histories

Labor Histories

Class, Politics, and the Working-Class Experience

Author: Edited by Eric Arnesen, Julie Greene, and Bruce Laurie
Pub Date: 1998

Essays that place working people in American history   learn more...

link to catalog page, All That Glitters

All That Glitters

Class, Conflict, and Community in Cripple Creek

Author: Elizabeth Jameson
Pub Date: 1998

The vivid history of a Colorado gold town   learn more...

link to catalog page, Waterfront Workers

Waterfront Workers

New Perspectives on Race and Class

Author: Edited by Calvin Winslow
Pub Date: 1998

Dockworkers and their attempts to organize in the early and mid-1900s   learn more...

link to catalog page, Down on the Killing Floor

Down on the Killing Floor

Black and White Workers in Chicago's Packinghouses, 1904-54

Author: Rick Halpern
Pub Date: 1997

Workers' bitter struggle against the meat industry in Chicago   learn more...

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"Negro and White, Unite and Fight!"

A Social History of Industrial Unionism in Meatpacking, 1930-90

Author: Roger Horowitz
Pub Date: 1997

How meat industry workers gained power, and had it taken away, in the twentieth century   learn more...

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