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Southern Labor Studies Conference


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The Southern Labor Studies Association will convene the 2018 Southern Labor Studies Conference in Athens, GA, at the Richard B. Russell Library on the University of Georgia campus, May 17-19, 2018. The conference will gather academics, activists, archivists, and students for three days of panels, roundtables, book discussions, and other sessions organized around the theme of “Dirty Work.” 

The “Dirty Work” theme encompasses southern industries (mining, timber, turpentine, farming, chicken processing, catfish, etc.); the service economy (trash collection, domestic service, nursing, food service, etc.); bound labor (slavery, indenture, and prison labor); as well as work deemed morally “dirty” – from sex work and drug-selling to policing and overseeing. Panels will engage public history, archival projects, teaching, oral history, important works in progress, and digital history. The Southern Labor Studies Association defines southern labor and working-class studies broadly, including both historical and contemporary topics from multiple academic disciplines, and regional, comparative, and transnational approaches.

The conference will also include a Dissertation Prospectus Workshop (deadline January 15, 2018) at which doctoral students working in any related discipline, selected through a competitive application process, will meet with a committee of scholars who will provide feedback on their work.


The SLSA has secured block rates for two Athens hotels. You may use other area hotels but these are the closest to the conference and the only hotels within walking distance. To receive the block rate, you must reserve your room by April 26th, 2018. *                                                                           

Holiday Inn Athens-University Area, 197 E Broad St, Athens, GA 30601

The rate at the Holiday Inn is $109 per night for a standard room with two double beds or $119 per night for a deluxe room with one king. For reservations, call (706) 549-4433 or visit this link. Mention the group code is SLS.

Holiday Inn Express–Athens University Area, 513 W. Broad St., Athens, GA 30601

The rate at the Holiday Inn Express is $104 per night and includes breakfast. For reservations, call (706) 546-8122 or visit this link. Mention the group code is SLS.

* The room blocks at the Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express are filling up fast. If you have trouble booking a room, here's a list of alternate hotels within a mile of the University of Georgia's Special Collections building.

       Courtyard by Marriott Athens Downtown
Days Inn Athens
The Graduate Athens
Hilton Garden Inn Athens Downtown
Hotel Indigo Athens Downtown
Best Western Athens


The 2018 SLSA has received generous support from:

The University of Georgia’s B. Phinizy Spalding Chair

The University of Georgia Department of History

The University of Georgia Office of the Provost

The University of Georgia Office of the Vice President for Research

The University of Georgia Willson Center for Humanities and Arts

The Southern Historical Association 

The Southern Labor Archives, Georgia State University Library

The University of Georgia Press

Program Committee

The SLSA would like to thank the members of the conference’s program committee:
Jonathan Bryant, Traci Drummond, LaGuana Gray, Cindy Hahamovitch, Owen James Hyman, Bob Korstad, Michael Law, Nikki Luke, David “Mac” Marquis, Keri Leigh Merritt, Stephen Mihm, Adrienne Petty, James Bowers Wall, Brian Williams, Robert Hutchins Woodrum

University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries

The Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies

The Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library

The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection

Past Meetings

2017 | Tampa, FL   BIENNIAL CONFERENCE Conference Program

2015 | Washington, DC   SLAVERY, LAW, LEGACY, AND BEYOND Conference Program

2013 | New Orleans, LA  THE MANY SOUTHS Conference Program

Southern Spaces Articles

Joey Fink, "In Good Faith: Working-Class Women, Feminism, and Religious Support in the Struggle to Organize J. P. Stevens Workers in the Southern Piedmont, 1974-1980"

Justin Nystrom, "The Vanished World of the New Orleans Longshoreman"

Angela Stuesse. "Low-Wage Legacies, Race, and the Golden Chicken in Mississippi: Where Contemporary Immigration Meets African American Labor History"


CONTACT Southern Labor Studies Association 

c/o Evan Bennett, Treasurer

Department of History

Florida Atlantic University

777 Glades Road

Boca Raton, FL 33431

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