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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, Making Capitalism Safe

Making Capitalism Safe

Work Safety and Health Regulation in America, 1880-1940

Author: Donald W. Rogers
Pub Date: January 2010

A broad, historical appraisal of the evolution of work safety and health regulation in the U.S.   learn more...

link to catalog page, On the Ground

On the Ground

Labor Struggle in the American Airline Industry

Author: Liesl Miller Orenic
Pub Date: July 2009

The challenges and successes of unionization at four U.S. airlines, with a focus on baggage handlers   learn more...

link to catalog page, Sweet Tyranny

Sweet Tyranny

Migrant Labor, Industrial Agriculture, and Imperial Politics

Author: Kathleen Mapes
Pub Date: June 2009

Amid America's sugar industry, a bitter debate over imperialism and immigration   learn more...

link to catalog page, Staley


The Fight for a New American Labor Movement

Author: Steven K. Ashby and C. J. Hawking
Pub Date: April 2009

A dramatic story of worker resistance in a pivotal labor struggle   learn more...

link to catalog page, Shadow of the Racketeer

Shadow of the Racketeer

Scandal in Organized Labor

Author: David Witwer
Pub Date: 2009

A detailed account of labor corruption in the 1930s and the zealous journalist who railed against it   learn more...

link to catalog page, Upheaval in the Quiet Zone

Upheaval in the Quiet Zone

1199SEIU and the Politics of Health Care Unionism

Author: Leon Fink and Brian Greenberg
Pub Date: February 2009

A classic labor history, newly updated and expanded   learn more...

link to catalog page, Red Chicago

Red Chicago

American Communism at Its Grassroots, 1928-35

Author: Randi Storch
Pub Date: January 2009

Realities of the street-level American Communist experience during the worst years of the Depression   learn more...

link to catalog page, Good, Reliable, White Men

Good, Reliable, White Men

Railroad Brotherhoods, 1877-1917

Author: Paul Michel Taillon
Pub Date: January 2009

Railroad brotherhoods' dynamic impact on American labor relations and national politics   learn more...

link to catalog page, Teachers and Reform

Teachers and Reform

Chicago Public Education, 1929-1970

Author: John F. Lyons
Pub Date: July 2008

Measuring the impact of the Chicago Teachers Union on public education in Chicago   learn more...

link to catalog page, Race against Liberalism

Race against Liberalism

Black Workers and the UAW in Detroit

Author: David M. Lewis-Colman
Pub Date: June 2008

An in-depth chronicle of the black labor movement in Detroit   learn more...

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