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  • Thursday, September 17, 2020 10:24 AM | Anonymous

    See below for the 2020 SLSA Plenary.  Watch (or watch again) the searing, probing, and hopeful comments about the state of labor and the nation from activist and author Bill Fletcher Jr. and North Carolina AFL-CIO President MaryBe McMillian.  Thanks so much to Nancy MacLean for moderating the session and adding her brilliant voice to the conversation.  

    Please consider joining the SLSA, and/or donating to SLSA to help with the maintenance of the webpage and investing in future programming like this amazing plenary session.  You can do so here.

    Click the below link to watch the plenary:

     GMT20200911-201404_SLSA-Plena_640x360.mp4
  • Thursday, September 17, 2020 10:19 AM | Anonymous

    As part of the 2020 plenary session (or the conference that wasn't), the SLSA held a series of workshops where early career scholars shared a draft of a chapter or article with another scholar in their field and engaged in an intense hour-long back and forth about the piece. 

    SLSA solicited proposals for these workshops ahead of time.  The SLSA Workshop Committee of Brian Kelly (chair), Mary Frederickson, and Sarah McNamara chose the following essays to be workshopped.  Also listed below are the names of the commentators.  Thanks so much to them for their time and generous intellectual spirit.  

    Stay tuned.  We will be doing another round of workshops soon. 


    Here is the workshop program:

    1) Bryant Etheridge (Bridgeport State University), "Valuing People: A Political History of Working-Class Wages in Houston, 1933-1970"

    Commentator:  Max Kromeral, Texas Christian University

    2) Tiffany Gonzalez (Texas A&M): "Fruits of their Labor’: Mexican American Women and American Politics since the 20th Century"

    Commentator: Beth English, Organization of American Historians

    3) Caitlin Kennedy (University of Maryland), "Italian Immigrant Labor on the Gulf Coast"

    Commentator: Carolina Waldron, University of Dayton 

    4) Cullen Moran (Western Carolina University), "Coalfield Women: Community, Gender and Music in the Harlan County War, 1930-1940"

    Commentator: Jesse Wilkerson, West Virginia University

    5) Ashley Rodgers, (Louisiana State University), "The Perfect Laborer: Race, Mechanization, and the Search for the Ideal in Louisiana’s Cane Country,"1865-1900

    Commentator:  Richard Follette, University of Sussex

  • Thursday, September 17, 2020 10:17 AM | Anonymous

    At the SLSA 2020 Plenary session, Professor Hugett was awarded the Zeiger Prize. Here are Professor Paul Ortiz's remarks about Robert Zieger and Professor Hughett 's wonderful and compelling essay.


    The Robert H. Zieger Prize in Southern Labor Studies was established in 2013. The Southern Labor Studies Association wanted to recognize Professor Bob Zieger’s remarkable life in labor, scholarship and activism. Bob was a beautiful person. He was a great friend to many of the colleagues gathered here today. He modeled the values of mutuality and solidarity and taught these values to thousands of students and fellow union members.

    Throughout his career Dr. Zieger read hundreds of dissertations, book manuscripts, and he wrote countless book blurbs for junior scholars.  Equally important, he gave tremendous career advice for younger labor historians. Bob demonstrated in his numerous books, essays, and op-eds that it is possible to combine rigorous scholarship with accessibility. His former students—many of whom have become union organizers, teachers and scholars credit Bob for teaching them to write and communicate to general audiences. 

    Bob and his beloved wife of fifty years Dr. Gay Zieger were indispensable members of Gainesville Florida for decades. I recall with great fondness making office visits with Bob as a fellow United Faculty of Florida member attempting to get our colleagues in Chemistry, Business, Engineering and other fields to join the union at UF. On more than one occasion a professor in one of these fields would tell Bob and I that “Unions were for common laborers, not members of the faculty.” 

    The competition for this year’s Robert H. Zieger prize was intense. We received numerous submissions. The quality of this year’s entries was so high that we needed two full meetings to make our decision. I want to thank our wonderful committee of Professor Michelle Haberland from Georgia Southern University and Professor Max Krochmal for their careful reading and consideration of each entry.

    After much consideration, our committee Chose Amanda Hughett’s essay,

    “From Extraction to Repression: Prison Labor, Prison Finance, and the Prisoners' Rights Movement in North Carolina," to receive the 2020 Southern Labor Study Association’s Robert H. Zieger Award.

    The committee agreed that Dr. Hughett’s essay was well-researched, and gave readers a sense of the agency and organization of imprisoned people. Hughett, an assistant professor of Legal Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield, provides a critical new intervention in the study of the rise of mass incarceration, neo-liberalism as well as the importance of working on radical prison reforms in our own time. 

    Please join me in congratulating Amanda Hughett, the 2020 recipient of the Southern Labor Studies Association’s Robert H. Zieger Award!

  • Monday, August 10, 2020 4:14 PM | Anonymous

    The Southern Labor Studies Association invites you to its plenary session, "The Challenges and Opportunities Ahead for Southern Workers," on September 11, 2020 at 4PM.  The session will feature Nancy MacLean (Duke University), Bill Fletcher (TransAfrica), and MaryBe McMillian (NC AFL-CIO).    

    You can register for the ZOOM session here, https://temple.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwtc-6oqjsqE9KOxu5LjFClgbSWxQB2Wx1j  

    If your SLSA membership is not up to date, please consider renewing it or joining the association here.  One other way you can help SLSA is to make a donation via PayPal to support the plenary session (suggested $10).

    See you on Zoom on September 11. 


  • Monday, August 10, 2020 4:04 PM | Anonymous

    Written by Kevin Kehrberg and Jeffrey A. Keith for "The Bitter Southerner, "Somebody Died, Babe: A Musical Cover-Up of Racism, Violence, & Greed" is a multi-media long read on the covered-up history underlying the song "Swannanoa Tunnel." This fantastic piece can be read here.

    Article Abstract: "Beneath the popular folk song, 'Swannanoa Tunnel,' and beneath the railroad tracks that run through Western North Carolina, is a story of blood, greed, and obfuscation. As our nation reckons with systematic racial violence, the story of this song points to the unmarked graves of the hundreds of wrongfully convicted Black people who died building the tunnel."

  • Thursday, June 25, 2020 6:15 PM | Anonymous

    Professors Merl E. Reed and Gary Fink were instrumental in the establishment, development, and use of the Southern Labor Archives at Georgia State University from the early 1970s. Today, the Southern Labor Archives has over 500 collections used by researchers from throughout the Southeast, the United States, and the world. Created in 2000, the Reed Fink Award in Southern Labor History honors both men and their many contributions to education, labor studies, and the Southern Labor Archives. Faculty, graduate students, upper-level undergraduates, and recognized independent scholars and artists are encouraged to apply. The deadline has been extended to August 15.

    One or more fellowship(s) of at least $250 are awarded annually to individual(s) whose research in the Southern Labor Archives will lead to a book, article, dissertation, or other substantive product.

    For more information and application requirements:

    https://library.gsu.edu/files/2020/06/2020_Reed_Fink_Award_Application.pdf

    Lisa Vallen (she/her/hers)

    Southern Labor Archivist

    (404) 413-2886

    GSU Special Collections

  • Tuesday, June 23, 2020 7:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On SLSA's latest Working History podcast, "Citizen and Other: Puerto Rican Farmworkers in the United States," Ismael García Colón discusses his book, Colonial Migrants at the Heart of Empire: Puerto Rican Farmers on U.S. Farms (University of California Press), Puerto Rican migrant farmworkers, and their labor and experiences in the post-World War II United States. Listen to Working History on the New Books NetworkSpotify, iTunes, and SoundCloud, and subscribe on these platforms to stay up to date on future episodes.

    Ismael García Colón is Associate Professor at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island. He is a historical and political anthropologist with focus on the Gramscian concept of hegemony, oral history, immigration and colonial migration, race, citizenship, farm labor, U.S. empire, Puerto Rico, and U.S. ethnic and racial histories. His research experiences include documenting Latinxs in the NYC labor movement, and landless workers, migrant farmworkers, processes of colonial state formation and land distribution programs in Puerto Rico. In addition to Colonial Migrants at the Heart of Empire, García Colón is the author of Land Reform in Puerto Rico: Modernizing the Colonial State, 1941-1969 (University Press of Florida, 2009). His publications have also appeared in Latin American PerspectivesCENTRO JournalAmerican Ethnologist, and Latino Studies. His current research explores the Puerto Rican experience in U.S. farm labor and its relation to U.S. colonialism and immigration policies, and how government policies formed and transformed modern subjectivities in Puerto Rico.

  • Thursday, June 04, 2020 12:15 PM | Anonymous

    "Nurses in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina filed a petition in March to form a union with National Nurses United (NNU). Roughly 1,600 nurses are expected to be eligible to vote."

    If interested, full article from Facing South can be read here.

  • Tuesday, June 02, 2020 5:30 PM | Anonymous

    SLSA stands in solidarity with all those fighting for justice for Black people in America. We walk with all those protesting for an immediate end to anti-Black violence, sentencing, and policing. As teachers, researchers, and activists, we fully understand that racism and the carceral state have long been used to divide poor and working-class people with similar economic interests. We remain committed - as individuals and as an organization - to antiracist principles, and will continue to both educate the general public, as well as combat white supremacy in all forms.

  • Friday, May 22, 2020 12:26 PM | Anonymous

    For those interested, here is an article about workers organizing during COVID-19 in "right-to-work" states:

    "In ‘Right-To-Work’ States, Restaurant Workers Mobilize During COVID-19 For Better Condition" by Clare Busch. Read it here.


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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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