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Robert H. Zieger Prize

Southern Labor Studies Association awards the Robert H. Zieger Prize at the biennial Southern Labor Studies Conference for the best unpublished essay in southern labor studies written by a graduate student or early career scholar, journalist, or activist. The Zieger Prize includes a $1,000 award.

The Robert H. Zieger Prize was established in 2013 with the cooperation of the Zieger family and members of SLSA. The prize is named in honor of the late Robert H. Zieger–teacher, scholar, and tireless union activist. Zieger was a prolific, award-winning writer whose books include For Jobs and Freedom: Race and Labor in America since 1865 and The CIO, 1935-1955, and three field-defining edited volumes on southern labor history. Zieger served as an officer in the North Central Florida Central Labor Council and an organizer for the United Faculty of Florida. Along with his wife of fifty years, Gay Zieger, an English professor Santa Fe College, he maintained a strong commitment to social justice his entire life. Many of his former students went on to become labor organizers. SLSA hopes that the spirit of Zieger’s combination of rigorous scholarship and his dedicated commitment to improving the lives of working-class people will live on in this prize.

2024 Submissions Deadline: June 7, 2024

The winner of the Zieger Prize will be announced at the 2024 Southern Labor Studies Association conference which will be held at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, September 20-21, 2024. SLSA encourages applicants to the Zieger Prize to also submit proposals for the “New Directions” Workshop Series via the conference call for papers.

To be considered for the Robert H. Zieger Prize, applicants must submit their essays electronically by June 72024, to the prize committee chairperson:

Paul Ortiz

Chair, Robert H. Zieger Prize Committee
Department of History
University of Florida
Questions? Email ortizprof@gmail.com

Link to full award announcement: 2024 Zieger Award announcement FINAL.pdf


Graduate students and scholars, activists, and journalists who are no more than five years beyond the author’s highest degree are eligible to apply. Essays must be in English, in print or electronic format, and should be primarily concerned with southern labor and working-class history broadly conceived. Applicants are not required to be members of SLSA at the time of the submission

Contribute to the Prize

Tax-deductible donations to the Robert H. Zieger Prize fund may be made to SLSA via PayPal (please click on “Add special instructions to the seller” and indicate the donation is for the Zieger Prize) or by mailing a check to SLSA's Treasurer with Zieger Prize in the memo line.

zieger Prize committee, 2024

Paul Ortiz, University of Florida (Chair)

Michelle Haberland, Georgia Southern University

Robert Chase, Stony Brook University


2022 justin jolly, texas christian university (co-winner)

"Amazons in the Jungle: Female Meatpacking Workers and the United Packinghouse Workers of America, 1937-1946"

2022 Matt o'Neal, university of georgia (Co-winner)

"Coal-fired Capitalism: Railroaders, Miners, and the Long Red Summer in Appalachian Kentucky"

2020 Amanda Hughett, University of Illinois at Springfield

"From Extraction to Repression: Prison Labor, Prison Finance, and the Prisoners' Rights Movement in North Carolina"

2018 James B. Wall, University of Georgia

“'Boss is Still Boss': Johnson v. City of Albany and the Fight for Affirmative Action in the Black Belt"

2017 Josh Hollands, Institute of the Americas at University College London

"'There's a Bigot in Your Biscuit': Workplace Discrimination at Cracker Barrel, Civil Rights, and Corporate Activism in the United States"

2015 A. Lane Windham, University of Maryland

"The Cannon Mills Case: Out of the Southern Frying Pan, Into the Global Fire"

CONTACT Southern Labor Studies Association 

c/o Max Krochmal

Department of History, LA 135

University of New Orleans

2000 Lakeshore Dr

New Orleans, LA 70148

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