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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, 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...

link to catalog page, Indispensable Outcasts

Indispensable Outcasts

Hobo Workers and Community in the American Midwest, 1880-1930

Author: Frank Tobias Higbie
Pub Date: August 2003

A study of seasonal workers in the midwest during the Progressive Era   learn more...

link to catalog page, After the Strike

After the Strike

A Century of Labor Struggle at Pullman

Author: Susan Eleanor Hirsch
Pub Date: April 2003

Exploring the effect of race, gender, and nationality in the long struggle for economic justice by men and women of the Pullman Company   learn more...

link to catalog page, Anaconda


Labor, Community, and Culture in Montana's Smelter City

Author: Laurie Mercier
Pub Date: September 2001

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link to catalog page, Duquesne and the Rise of Steel Unionism Author: James D. Rose
Pub Date: July 2001

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

Focusing on the coalfields of Birmingham, Alabama, Brian Kelly presents new evidence of the role white elites played in fomenting racial discord at the bottom of southern society   learn more...

link to catalog page, Southern Workers & Search for Community

Southern Workers & Search for Community

Spartanburg County, South Carolina

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

An impressively researched work that is very well written, it uncovers the sordid relationship between corporations and government that made union organization difficult in the South and union success almost impossible.   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 on labor history by one of the leading figures in the field   learn more...

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"Rights, Not Roses"

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

Author: Dennis A. Deslippe
Pub Date: January 2000

An insightful study of working-class feminism, raising important questions about the meaning of equality for them, their connections to their unions, and the gendered nature of equal rights.   learn more...

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