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  • Monday, December 09, 2019 8:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Southern Labor Studies Association has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help SLSA continue the vital work of studying working life in the South and nurturing early career scholars. Donations can be made at: https://bit.ly/355gUUk.

    The Southern Labor Studies Association promotes the study, teaching, and preservation of the history of southern labor. We are an open, welcoming group of scholars, lawyers, students, teachers, and activists who encourage dialogue and discussion about key issues and events relevant to the past and present of labor and working-class life and culture in the U.S. South.

    Not only do we serve to connect academics and activists across the nation, we also promote working-class history in public school curricula and provide resources for public school teachers. We organize a biannual Southern Labor Studies Conference and, as sponsor multiple other sessions on southern labor and working-class history at other academic conferences.
     
    Over the past few years, SLSA has sought to modernize, energize, and organize – and the results have been amazing! We have expanded the geographical, chronological, and thematic boundaries of southern labor studies by extending our geographic scope to include the broader Atlantic world, and pushing our time frame back to pre-European settlement. We’re reaching beyond our traditional emphasis on the workplace, politics, protest, and unions to explore working-class cultures—foodways, music, film, family, and home life.

    However, in order to accomplish all of our goals, we need your help – not only by donating money, but by sharing this request with your social networks. All in all, to move the organization firmly into the 2020s, we need to raise $10,000. Here are our goal tiers and what each level accomplishes:

    • TIER 1: $3,500: This goal allows us to completely revamp and update our website, providing a place for journalists and educators to connect with labor scholars and activists. The website will also be a place for all educators and activists to find teaching resources and funding opportunities. It will also host a litany of new essays, podcasts, videos, and some great “Top Ten” lists about the South by both scholars and even celebrities.
    • TIER 2: $6,000: This tier helps fund travel expenses for several important speakers for our September 2020 conference  at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (we hope you will consider attending!).
    • TIER 3: $10,000: This goal funds dozens of students, adjuncts, and activists in their work and in their travel to our conference. This helps enable those who need financial assistance to receive it.
  • Tuesday, December 03, 2019 6:33 PM | Anonymous

    "Why Academics and Academic-Related Staff in UK Universities Are On Strike" from Bruce E. Baker

    December 3, 2019

    As I write this, I and tens of thousands of other academic and academic-related staff at UK universities are finishing up eight days of strike action called by the UCU (University and College Union) over two separate disputes.  Members of LAWCHA and SLSA might be interested in this both as labor historians and as university employees.  As a labor historian trained in the right-to-work state of North Carolina who now sits on the National Executive Committee of UCU, I hope that my comments here might be of some interest.

    The first dispute relates to our pension, run by USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme).  In autumn 2017, the managers of the pension scheme produced a disputed valuation that suggested the scheme was seriously in deficit and needed to be converted from a defined benefit scheme to a defined contribution scheme.  The current changes proposed have more to do with steadily, and unjustifiably, increasing member contributions (from 8.0% of salary to 9.1%, with plans to rise to 9.6% and probably beyond, pushing new members out of the scheme and actually making it unsustainable).  The second dispute is over pay, casualisation, workload, and the gender pay gap.  Our pay is set in a nationally negotiated scale, and for the past ten years we have seen our wages decline by roughly 17% in real terms, even as more money than ever enter university accounts from student tuition fees.  The other three strands of this dispute are probably not all that different than in the United States, and they have typically been devolved to individual universities, who have refused to do anything concrete and immediate about the problems.

    The background for this dispute is the pension strike of spring 2018.  What was remarkable about that was the way it mobilised the grassroots of the union, creating momentum that existed outside the control of the union hierarchy.  An independent group called “USS Briefs” was formed to write and disseminate very thorough papers on every aspect of the dispute and many other issues related to university life and governance.  This and much more was circulated through very active and sophisticated social media networks, particularly Twitter.  This was also the first strike undertaken by UCU since the work of the Commission on Effective Industrial Action reported with suggestions about how to do more than take symbolic actions.  Instead of a one-day strike, we were out for fourteen days over four weeks, part of it in the worst blizzard the country had seen in years, bringing universities to a halt across the country.  When the previous General Secretary sent an offer from the employers to members with very strong advice to accept, against the advice of delegates, a majority of UCU members (many of whom had not been on strike), accepted what amounted to a promise to convene an expert panel. The panel met and vindicated the UCU’s position, but the employers refused to pressure USS into implementing its suggestions.  So here we are again.

    The other very significant effect of the dénouement of the 2018 strike was a radical restructuring of the leadership of the union. At the 2018 Congress, a pair of motions criticising the General Secretary’s handling of the USS dispute led to a walkout by the General Secretary and the rest of the full-time officials, whose union branch held a wildcat strike that brought the Congress to an end, perhaps the most dramatic union annual congress since the 1935 meeting of the AFL.  Not long after, the General Secretary went on sick leave and eventually resigned due to ill health.  Replacing her was Dr. Jo Grady, a Senior Lecturer in Industrial Relations at Sheffield University whose expertise is pension disputes.  She comes from Wakefield in Yorkshire, and her father was a miner on strike during the Miners Strike when Jo was born.  Along with the massive growth of membership during the previous dispute, and a much more diverse and active group of members taking up national leadership positions, UCU is a very different union today than it was two years ago when the USS dispute began.  The employers are a bit slow to learn this, but they are beginning to feel it.  The dispute is likely to drag into the spring towards the end of the academic year, but it bids fair to transform how universities are run in the United Kingdom.

    The picket lines are even stronger than in the previous dispute (my branch has had roughly twice as many picketing each day), and there is a confident and imaginative spirit.  Each day has a theme focusing on a key issue facing university workers.  We have baking contests.  We have the Shark of Solidarity (I can’t explain—just follow the Twitter account @SolidarityShark).  We have dogs and babies.  We have daily comics drawn by one of our members (@lyd_w) explaining key issues in an accessible format.  We also have daily teach-outs featuring a range of topics related to members’ research interests but also critically engaging with issues at the university.


  • Tuesday, November 05, 2019 8:16 PM | Anonymous

    SLSA Biannual Conference CfP: Expanding the Horizons of Southern Labor Studies

    September 11-13, 2020 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Submissions due January 15, 2020

    Over the past few years, SLSA has sought to modernize, energize, and organize – and the results have been amazing! We have expanded the geographical, chronological, and thematic boundaries of southern labor studies by extending our geographic scope to include the broader Atlantic world, and pushing our time frame back to pre-European settlement. We’re reaching beyond our traditional emphasis on the workplace, politics, protest, and unions to explore working-class cultures—foodways, music, film, family, and home life. This conference will continue the push outward and onward. 

    We warmly invite all academics, students, activists, labor organizers, union members, lawyers, and anyone with an interest in labor issues – past or present – to join us at our next meeting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to be held on September 11-13, 2020 (Friday afternoon through Sunday morning). The conference will focus on expanding the horizons of southern labor studies. We will also experiment with some creative new formats built around new work and new conceptions of southern labor and additional sessions specifically aimed to help us think about how to communicate with larger audiences and share our work with the public.


    See attached for the full CfP and application instructions: SLSACFP2020.docx

  • Thursday, October 24, 2019 9:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On SLSA's latest Working History podcast, "Making the Woman Worker," Eileen Boris discusses her new book, Making the Woman Worker: Precarious Labor and the Fight for Global Standards, 1919-2019 (Oxford University Press), the history of the ILO's labor protections for women, domestic and home workers in the Global North and Global South, and ongoing fights to recognize precarious labor from the care economy to the gig economy. Listen to Working History on the New Books NetworkSpotify, iTunes, and SoundCloud, and subscribe on these platforms to keep up to date on future episodes.

    Eileen Boris is the Hull Professor and Chair of the Department of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she directs the Center for Research on Women and Social Justice. An interdisciplinary historian, she specializes in women’s labors in the home and other workplaces and on gender, race, work, and the welfare state. She has authored numerous books, articles, and policy reports on the feminization of poverty, the wages of care, and welfare reform. Her non-academic writings have appeared in The Nation, LA Times, New Labor Forum, Labor Notes, Salon, Dissent, Women’s Review of Books, and the Washington Post. Borris' books include Art and Labor: Ruskin, Morris, and the Craftsman Ideal in America (1986) and Home to Work: Motherhood and the Politics of Industrial Homework in the United States (1994), winner of the Philip Taft Prize in Labor History, and a coauthor, with Jennifer Klein, of Caring for America: Home Health Workers in the Shadow of the Welfare State (2012), winner of the Sara A. Whaley Prize from the National Women's Studies Association. She is also a coeditor of Major Problems in the History of American Workers (2002), The Practice of U.S. Women's History: Narratives, Intersections, and Dialogues (2007), and Intimate Labors: Technologies, Cultures, and the Politics of Care (2010).

    Formerly a copresident of the Coordinating Council for Women in History, president of the board of trustees of The Journal of Women's History, and cochair of the program committee for the 2005 Thirteenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, she currently serves on the executive committee of Social Science History Association and is the president of the International Federation for Research in Women's History.


  • Wednesday, September 11, 2019 1:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On SLSA's latest Working History podcast, "Race, Slavery, and Psychiatry," Wendy Gonaver discusses her book, The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840-1880, the Eastern Lunatic Asylum in Virginia, and the roles that race, the institution of slavery, and slave labor played in the development of psychiatric diagnosis and care through the nineteenth century and beyond. Listen to Working History on Spotify, iTunes, and SoundCloud, and subscribe on these platforms to keep up to date on future episodes.

    Wendy Gonaver graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1994, and received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the College of William and Mary in 2012. She is currently is archives assistant at the Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives at Chapman University. The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840-1880 was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2019.  

  • Friday, September 06, 2019 12:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Southern Labor Studies Association is pleased to announce the results of the 2019 election. The newly elected Officers and Executive Board Members will begin their terms of service on October 1.

    Vice President: Keri Leigh Merritt

    Keri Leigh Merritt works as a historian and writer in Atlanta, Georgia. Her first book, Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South (Cambridge University Press, 2017), won both the Bennett Wall Award from the Southern Historical Association and the President’s Book Award from the Social Science History Association. Merritt is also co-editor, with Matthew Hild, of Reconsidering Southern Labor History: Race, Class, and Power (University Press of Florida, 2018), which won the 2019 Best Book Award from the UALE (United Association for Labor Education). Merritt also writes historical pieces for the public, and has had letters and essays published in a variety of outlets.

    Treasurer: Matthew Hild

    Matthew Hild earned his Ph.D. in the History, Technology, and Society program at Georgia Tech, where he is currently a lecturer.  He also teaches at the University of West Georgia. His books include Greenbackers, Knights of Labor, and Populists: Farmer-Labor Insurgency in the Late-Nineteenth-Century South (University of Georgia Press), Arkansas's Gilded Age: The Rise, Decline, and Legacy of Populism and Working-Class Protest (University of Missouri Press), and, as co-editor with Keri Leigh Merritt, Reconsidering Southern Labor History: Race, Class, and Power (University Press of Florida).

    Executive Board Members (in alphabetical order)

    Mary Frederickson (1-year term)

    Mary Frederickson is currently an affiliated faculty member in the Institute for Liberal Arts at Emory University and Professor Emeritus of History at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, where she taught from 1988-2015. At Miami, she was awarded the Distinguished Educator Award from the College of Arts and Science and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Ohio Academy of History. Her research and teaching focus on gender, race, labor studies, and the social impact of disease. In 2010 she was a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC. The following year, she published Looking South: Race, Gender, and the Transformation of Labor, a study of the low-wage, anti-union and state-supported industries that marked the creation of the New South and now the Global South. In 2012-13, she was named Senior Mellon Fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute at Emory University. Since 2013 she has been a Visiting Professor at Emory, in both the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts and the Rollins School of Public Health. She serves as series editor of “Public Health in the US and Global South,” for Southern Spaces. Recent publications include Gendered Resistance: Women, Slavery, and the Legacy of Margaret Garner, 2013, (co-edited with Delores M. Walters); and Global Women’s Work: Perspectives on Gender and Work in the Global Economy, 2018 (with Beth English and Olga Sanmiguel-Valderrama). Her many published articles include works on labor and cultural history, new trajectories in women’s history, and the relationship between historical consciousness and activism. The National Council for Research on Women, Fulbright-Hays, and the National Endowment for the Humanities have funded her research.

    Brian Kelly (2-year term)

    Brian Kelly is a lifelong trade unionist active in the University and College Union (UCU) at Queen’s University Belfast. His early research was on interracial unionism in the New South, but in recent years he has focused on the formative struggles that accompanied slave emancipation. His first book, Race, Class and Power in the Alabama Coalfields, 1908-1921  (Illinois, 2001), won a number of awards, including the Southern Historical Association's H. L. Mitchell Prize for an outstanding book in Southern working-class history, and its Frances Butler Simkins Award for the best first book by an author in Southern history. In the years since he has published widely on the problem of racial antagonism and its impact on working-class politics in the US. Formerly a Walter Hines Page Fellow at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina, he holds non-residential fellowships at the Institute for Southern Studies (University of South Carolina) and the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute (Harvard University). He is past director of the After Slavery Project  and is competing a study of black labor in Reconstruction South Carolina. 

    Sarah McNamara (2-year term)

    Sarah McNamara is Assistant Professor of History and affiliated faculty in the Latina/o, Mexican American Studies Program at Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on Latinx, labor, women and gender, and immigration histories in the modern United States. She is at work on her first book, “From Picket Lines to Picket Fences: Latinas and the Remaking of the Jim Crow South, 1930-1964.” McNamara has two forthcoming articles, “Borderland Unionism: Latina Activism in Ybor City and Tampa, Florida,” which will appear in the 2019 summer issue of the Journal of American Ethnic History, and “A Not-So Nuevo Past: Latina Histories in the U.S. South,” in Labor: Studies in Working Class History as well as a special issue of the JAEH that interrogates the long history of multi-ethnic immigration to the U.S. South. In March 2018, her chapter “Settlement of Ybor City, 1885-1930,” was published in 50 Events that Shaped Latino History. Beyond historical work, McNamara is dedicated to interdisciplinary collaboration and sharing research on Latinx, immigration, and women and gender with a broad audience. She has written for Public SeminarThe Washington Post and published an ethnopoetic piece about the experience of undocumented activists in the U.S. South with South Writ Large. In addition to scholarship, McNamara is dedicated to student and community activism. At Texas A&M, McNamara acts as the faculty to sponsor to CMSA, previously the DREAMAct Club, which advocates for DACA and undocumented students at Texas A&M through collective action and university administrative change. McNamara’s work has received support from the American Historical Association, the American Libraries Association, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others.

    Susan O'Donovan (2-year term)

    Susan Eva O’Donovan is Associate Professor of History at the University of Memphis and has held appointments with History and African & African American Studies at Harvard University and the Freedmen and Southern Society Project at the University of Maryland. A scholar of nineteenth-century race, labor, and politics, she has written extensively on African American experiences in the post emancipation South. Susan is currently at work on a new project, Becoming Citizens: The Political Lives of Slaves. Under contract with Metropolitan Books, Becoming Citizens explores the relationship between what slaves did for their owners and what they came to know and do for themselves in the years leading up to secession. Susan has served on/chaired numerous university and professional committees; she is co-director of the Memphis Massacre Project; a founding member of the After Slavery Project; and the district coordinator for West Tennessee History Day, an affiliate of National History Day.

  • Wednesday, July 31, 2019 9:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On SLSA's latest Working History podcast, "Reconciling a Slaveholding Past," Jody Allen discusses the College of William and Mary's slaveholding past and the genesis, research, and community outreach of The Lemon Project: A Journey of Reconciliation. Listen to Working History on Spotify, iTunes, and SoundCloud, and subscribe on these platforms to keep up to date on future episodes. 

    Jody Lynn Allen, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of History at William and Mary, and Director of The Lemon Project. Her research interests cover the U.S. Civil War through the Long Civil Rights Movement focusing on black agency. Her current manuscript, Roses in December: Black Life in Hanover County, Virginia During the Era of Disfranchisement, considers the consequences of and responses to the 1902 Virginia constitution revisions that disfranchised most African American males. She is working with a colleague to produce "The Green Light," a documentary film on the school desegregation case, Charles C. Green v. the School Board of New Kent County, VA. This little-known 1968 Supreme Court decision led to the integration of public schools throughout the South. She co-authored "Recovering a 'Lost' Story Using Oral History: The United States Supreme Court's Historic Green v. New Kent County, Virginia, Decision" which appeared in The Oral History Review. Her article, “Thomas Dew and the Rise of Proslavery Ideology at William & Mary” appears in the Forum on Slavery and Universities in the May 2018 edition of Slavery & Abolition. During the 2017-2018 academic year, Allen was a visiting assistant professor of history at the University of the South at Sewanee, TN, where she taught African American History and consulted with Sewanee’s Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation.

    The Lemon Project is a multifaceted and dynamic attempt to rectify wrongs perpetrated against African Americans by William & Mary through action or inaction. An ongoing endeavor, this program will focus on contributing to and encouraging scholarship on the 300-year relationship between African Americans and W&M, and building bridges between the university and Williamsburg and Greater Tidewater area. The Lemon Project is a member of the Universities Studying Slavery Consortium

  • Tuesday, June 25, 2019 7:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On SLSA’s latest Working History podcast, "Beef: Exploitation, Innovation, and How Meat Changed America," Joshua Specht discusses his new book, Red Meat Republic: A Hoof-to-Table History of How Beef Changed America (Princeton University Press 2019), and how the history of beef production tells the story of broad changes in the American economy, society and political landscape during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

    Joshua Specht is Lecturer in History at Monash University in Australia. He is a historian of the nineteenth-century United States, and uses approaches from environmental history to study topics that have traditionally been the focus of business or economic history. 

  • Thursday, May 23, 2019 10:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On SLSA’s latest Working History podcast, "Appalachia: A Regional Reckoning," Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll discuss their edited volume Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy (West Virginia University Press, 2019), the complexities of the region known as Appalachia, and challenging popular stereotypes of the region and the people who live there.

    Anthony Harkins is Associate Professor of History at Western Kentucky University. His book Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon (Oxford University Press, 2004) won the 2005 Susanne M. Glasscock Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Humanities Scholarship from Texas A&M University. His new project explores the origins, development and potential consequences of envisioning the great center of the nation as "the middle of nowhere" from the perspectives of both coastal commentators and self-defined "Flyover People." In particular, he is investigating the impact of central transportation and communication developments (especially transcontinental passenger air travel, the interstate highway system, and television) on the changing ways Americans envisioned the cultural and geographic boundaries and intersections of the nation.

    Harkins has published in Studies in American HumorAppalachian JournalThe Journal of Appalachian Studies and Historically Speaking. He is the Co-Editor of the Media section of the Encyclopedia of Appalachia (Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2006) and serves as a historical consultant on several film documentaries.

    Meredith McCarroll is the director of writing and rhetoric at Bowdoin College. She was born and raised in Western North Carolina and earned her PhD at the University of Tennessee. She is the author of Unwhite: Appalachia, Race, and Film. Her work has also been published in Southern Cultures, South Carolina Review, and Pluck.

    Listen to Working History on Spotify, iTunes, and  SoundCloud, and subscribe on these platforms to keep up to date on future episodes.

  • Thursday, March 14, 2019 11:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On SLSA’s latest Working History podcastJessica Wilkerson, Assistant Professor of History and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, discusses her book, To Live Here You Have to Fight: How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice, and the recent history of feminist social justice activism in Appalachia.

    Jessica Wilkerson is Assistant Professor of History and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. Born and raised in East Tennessee, she earned her MA in Women’s History from Sarah Lawrence College and PhD in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her first book, To Live Here, You Have to Fight: How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice (University of Illinois Press, 2019), traces the alliances forged and the grassroots movements led by women in the Appalachian South in the 1960s and 1970s. The project, based on her dissertation, received the OAH Lerner-Scott Prize and the Labor and Working-Class History’s Herbert Gutman Prize. 

    Wilkerson’s article “The Company Owns the Mine But They Don’t Own Us: Feminist Critiques of Capitalism in the Coalfields of Kentucky,” was published in April 2016 in Gender & History and received the A. Elizabeth Taylor Prize for the best article in women’s history from the Southern Association for Women Historians. She has also published in Southern Cultures and Working U.S.A.: The Journal of Labor and Society, and she contributed to North Carolina Women: Their Lives and Times—Volume 2(University of Georgia Press). She has contributed to oral history projects at the Southern Oral History Program (UNC), including the “Long Women’s Movement in the American South.” You can hear more about that project here. In the spring 2017, she began a collaboration with her students on an oral history project documenting LGTBQ life and history in Mississippi. She has also written for 100 Days in Appalachia, SalonRewire News, Washington Post, and Longreads. Her research interests include women’s and gender history, working-class history, U.S. social movements, Appalachian history, and oral history.

    Professor Wilkerson teaches classes in southern history, women’s and gender history, contemporary U.S. history, and oral history.

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CONTACT Southern Labor Studies Association 

c/o Erik Gellman, SLSA/UNC Liaison

Department of History

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

102 Emerson Drive, CB #3195

Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3195

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