Arner Wins Grant for Project on Working-Class Women in the Professoriate

Lynn Arner, an Associate Professor of English at Brock University and a WCSA member, won a multi-year grant for her project “Working-Class Women in the Professoriate,” a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. This project involves conducting an extensive survey of English professors in Canada and the U.S., a survey designed to uncover the ways in which working-class female academics negotiate a different terrain in the profession than their working-class male counterparts and than middle-class colleagues, male or female. One of the goals of the survey is to document tracking in hiring patterns in the professoriate, tracking according to gender, class, and institutional pedigree. Lynn plans to publish her survey results in a pair of articles and will also use the survey material in the book she is currently writing on gender and class in the professoriate.

Democracy in Chains

Nancy MacLean, William Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University and former president of the Labor and Working Class History Association (LAWCHA), has published a new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.

 

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“This book is mesmerizing. Rarely have I encountered a work that speaks to such significant issues, with evidence rooted in conclusive new sources. In clear prose, MacLean reveals how a public once committed to social responsibility and egalitarian values became persuaded that only an unregulated free market could protect ‘liberty’ and ‘choice.’ Because of this, our once cherished democracy is now subject to attack. Everyone who wants to understand today’s confrontational politics should read this important book, now.”
Alice Kessler-Harris, author of In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men and the Quest for Economic Citizenship in Twentieth Century America

“It’s happening: the subversion of our democratic system from within. How did the political Right do it? Nancy MacLean tells the long-overlooked story of the political economist who developed the playbook for the Koch brothers. James McGill Buchanan merged states rights’ thinking with free market principles and helped to fashion the inherently elitist ideology of today’s Republican Party. Professor MacLean’s meticulous research and shrewd insights make this a must-read for all who believe in government ‘by the people.’”
Nancy Isenberg, author of White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America

Conference Day Two, Thursday 6/1

The day began with plenary speaker Josh Pacewicz (Sociology, Brown University) who spoke on Rust Belt Populism during the 2008 and 2012 elections and continued with a discussion by Michael Zweig and Sherry Linkon on working-class voters and the Trump election.  The day ended with a Presidential Plenary led by past-presidents Christie Launius and Tim Strangleman, president-elect Terry Easton, and current president Michele Fazio.

2017 WCSA Conference at Indiana University at Bloomington is underway!

The Working-Class Studies 2017 Conference, “Class Struggle: Race, Gender, and Revolution,” began with its annual Meet & Greet on Wednesday evening.  It was a large turnout of new and familiar faces.  A film screening of “The Killing Floor” followed at the IU Cinema.

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Call for Papers: The Journal of Working-Class Studies Special Issue, December 2017

The Journal of Working-Class Studies Special Issue, December 2017: The Poverty of Academia: Exploring the (Intersectional) Realities of Working Class Academics

Educational attainment is often framed as positive, having the liberatory potential to free the socio-economically marginalized from their constraints. There is little if ever any mention of the unchained slavery of debt and low wages that ties working-class academics to perpetual bondage. Once working class academics become subsumed into the Ivory Tower, assumptions of class privilege are immediately attached to their bodies: they are perceived as solidly middle class. But many individuals within academic settings occupy marginal positions. This marginalization has led to the creative use and understanding of an “outsider within” status.  This special issue attempts to uncover the influences of class status (among other axes of identity) on academics who still occupy this socioeconomically disadvantaged position. Far too often, these stories exist in siloes of private messages, listservs, and Facebook groups. This CFP hopes to move these singular stories of pain and struggle to a forum where the commonalities among these stories as well as the structural influences sustaining these realities can be collectively recognized.

As Deborah Warnock (2016) illustrates, working-class academics describe the precarious nature of their existences inside the tower. In the work she conducted, she identified five key themes that comprise the marginal existence of working-class academics: 1) alienation, 2) lack of cultural capital, 3) encountering stereotypes and microaggressions, 4) experiencing survivor guilt and the impostor syndrome, and 5) struggling to pass in a middle-class culture that values ego and networking. Two additional narratives are also emerging as part of this interlocking web of marginality: student debt and increased exploitation of adjunct labor.

This special issue, continuing along the path charted by Warnock and others, seeks to center these working class scholar narratives. We pay particular attention to the intersecting reality of working class scholars, highlighting the impossible web that many women, LGBT individuals, disabled scholars, people of color, religious minorities, etc. navigate to exist within academia.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Publishing AND perishing
  • Negotiating while Woman
  • Cultural capital
  • Employment and debt​ (including student loan debt)
  • Parenting while poor and professor
  • Navigating immigration
  • Failed academic job search/ faltering academic job market
  • Demands of travel (relocation, conference travel, speaking, etc)
  • Family (broadly defined) (changing relationships, perceptions of family/by family, finances)
  • (Hiding) Class and sexuality
  • Class concerns at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions
  • Negotiating want vs need/ relative poverty
  • Part time/contingent/adjunct faculty income/debt
  • Perceptions of competence (impostor syndrome)
  • Sharing/community building
  • Stigma (covert or overt)
  • “Bad and Boujee”
  • “All poor but the Prez”

We endeavour to publish timely as well as academically rigorous articles, therefore the deadline for submissions is September 1st 2017. Send submissions and inquiries to academicpoverty@gmail.com.

WCSA President-Elect’s Book Published

Terry Easton’s new book, Raising Our Voices, Breaking the Chain: The Imperial Hotel Occupation as Prophetic Politics has been published through Open Door Community Press.

This oral-history based book tells the dramatic story of how, in June 1990, a one-day action to bring attention to rising homelessness and lack of affordable housing in Atlanta transformed into a sixteen-day occupation of the abandoned Imperial Hotel. Over 300 homeless people and their advocates were vital to the action. This book also demonstrates how the occupation spurred affordable housing development in the 1990s and beyond. Rev. Tim McDonald, Pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church, says Raising Our Voices, Breaking the Chain is an “authentic, powerful, moving retelling of an epic time in the history of Atlanta when the issue of homelessness was taken to another level.” Historian Todd Moye writes, “Raising Our Voices, Breaking the Chain is a gem. The story of the Imperial Hotel takeover–told through the voices of the women and men who conceived and executed the takeover themselves, alongside Terry Easton’s insightful analysis–contains countless lessons for anyone who would act to end homelessness and make American cities just a little more democratic.”

Please contact Terry Easton at terry.easton@ung.edu to request a copy of this book in exchange for a $10 tax-deductable donation to the Open Door Community.