Youngstown State University’s Center for Working Class Studies is reviving and re-engaging the important work begun more than 20 years ago by co-founders Sherry Linkon and John Russo. Under the direction of current director Tim Francisco, the CWCS is putting together, and putting in motion, a revitalization plan that includes programming and curricular initiatives. The Center for Working Class Studies at YSU was the foundation for the field of Working Class Studies and the “Youngstown Conference” as it was known, sparked an international conversation about work, class and inequity. Now more than ever, as the gap between haves and have-nots widens at unprecedented levels, and as class dominates our social, political, economic, and educational realities, the many interested faculty and community affiliates in Youngstown recognize the urgency and the opportunity to re-engage the scholarly and social justice missions of the CWCS.
In Fall 2017, YSU and CWCS will restart the Working Class Studies Curriculum with a graduate course on Storytelling and Public Humanities that will deploy storytelling as means of documenting the increasing precariousness of working class families. The class is designed to spark community conversations about work, class, and equity.