Their Own Worst Enemies? How Union Factionalism Undermined Economic and Social Equality, 1941-1970

This panel explores how union factionalism undermined workers’ efforts to achieve economic and social equality in the twentieth century. In her paper, “Fighting for Democracy within the Ranks: The Case of the Minneapolis Teamsters, 1941 – 1943,” Donna T. Haverty-Stacke examines how internecine fights over control of Teamsters Local 544 waged between 1941 and 1943—bitter, […]

The Working-Class Body: Three Writers, Three Readings

The presenters, a theatre professor/playwright/actor and a creative writers/community college teacher, will offer a set of related spoken-word and performance pieces, drawn from real-life experiences, on the topic of The Working Class Body and the embodied experience of being working class. Bill Doan’s piece is titled “Body of Boxed Macaroni and Cheese.” Lita Kurth’s piece is titled, […]

The Iron Heel in Coal and Copper: Three Mine Wars of the Early Twentieth Century

This panel will examine three iconic mining conflicts of the early twentieth century: the Pennsylvania Anthracite coal strike in 1906, the 1913-14 Michigan copper strike, and the southern Colorado coal strike of 1913-1914. In all three examples, the combined power of corporate control (sometimes cast as “benevolent paternalism”) and government policing power crushed organizing drives […]

Fighting Inequality through Teaching, Scholarship, and Activism: A Roundtable Discussion on the Career of Jim Barrett

Jim Barrett is a renowned professor of labor history at the University of Illinois. He is the author of Work and Community in ‘the Jungle’: Chicago’s Packinghouse Workers, 1894-1922, William Z. Foster and the Tragedy of American Radicalism, The Irish Way: Becoming American in the Multi-Ethnic City, and the groundbreaking article “Americanization from The Bottom […]

“I’m sorry to be such a hassle again”: The Experiences of Homeless Students

This panel will explore the experiences of mostly working-class students in a large urban public university, California State University, Long Beach. Although precise numbers are unknown, recent data suggest that in any given year, 2-5% of undergraduate students at CSULB and other public universities in this nation experience homelessness (“housing instability”]. At CSULB, the number […]

Transatlantic Scenes: Popular Theatre and Music as Resistance or Satirical Tools

This panel discusses popular cultures that expressed radical affiliations or mocked them in the United States and in Spain. Staging the Revolution: Italian Immigrant Radical Plays Marcella Bencivenni This paper explores the importance of theater among early Italian immigrant radicals. Focusing on a few hitherto neglected plays, she discusses the use of drama as a […]

Documentary Dialogues: Historicizing the Proletarian Novel from the 30s to the 50s

Lauren Gilfillan’s just-barely-fictional autobiography I Went to Pit College (1934) documents culture and politics during the Great Coal Strike. Gilfillan, a college graduate, travelled alone to Avella, Pennsylvania and lived with strikers. Despite its popularity, the novel and its author fell into obscurity. Joel Woller will report on collaborative work in-progress on Gilfillan and her […]