CfP: Student Poster Session at 2017 WCSA Conference

We invite proposals for the Student Research Poster Session at the Working Class Studies Association Annual Conference, May 31-June 3, 2017 at IU-Bloomington. The poster session will highlight undergraduate and graduate research in working class studies organized around the broad conference theme of “Class Struggle: Race, Gender, and Revolution.” The conference Call for Papers is available here.

The Working Class Studies Association annual conference is a meeting for diversely situated workers including academics and practitioners interested in the working class and class struggle. This student research poster session is intended to create a dynamic and supportive space which invites students to share their work, discuss research with conference attendees, and become more involved in working class studies.

Interested students should propose their poster through the online conference proposal submission system here and note in the comment section of their submission is for the student poster session. Submissions are welcome until February 1, 2017.

Panel on Systematic Racism at Northampton Community College

Karen Gaffney recently spoke on a panel alongside Tim Wise, Prof. Denise Francois-Seeney, and Prof. Kamau Kenyatta about anti-racism at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, PA. Prof. Jim Von Schilling moderated the panel. It was a great discussion attended by an audience of at least 150 people about the persistence of systemic racism, strategies for ending white supremacy, how everyone can take action, and the inspiring work of Black Lives Matter activists.img_7889-1

New Research on African American Coking Workers

Alan Derickson has published new research examining how  dangerous working conditions impacted the post emancipation black working class. The article, “‘Gateway to Hell’: African American Coking Workers, Racial Discrimination, and the Struggle against Occupational Cancer,” appears in the Winter-Spring 2016 Journal of African American History.

Working-Class Graphic Narratives

Between the Lines books has a series of graphic narratives illustrating the stories and struggles of labor history, including May Day: A Graphic History of ProtestDrawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working-Class Struggle; and Ginger Goodwin.  Below is a description of it’s latest publication, Showdown! Making Modern Unions, by Rob Kristofferson and Simon Orpana with a foreword by Paul Buhle.

“Seventy years ago, thousands of North American workers took a stand for a better life. And they won. In 1946, in the United States, over a million workers in the steel, meatpacking, and electrical industries put down their tools and walked out; and striking Canadian workers tied up provincial rubber and logging industries, the Southam newspaper chain, central Canadian ports, and the national steel industry. Workers in Hamilton, Ontario hoisted picket signs at Westinghouse, Firestone, Stelco, and The Hamilton Spectator, and with the support of rallying friends and neighbours, turned the strikes into a community-wide struggle for decency, respect, and security.

Based on interviews and other archival materials,this graphic history illustrates how Hamilton workers translated their experience of work and organizing in the 1930s and early 1940s into a new kind of unionism and a new North American society in the decades following World War II.”

Former recipient of the Tillie Olsen Award for Creative Writing nominated for the Paterson Poetry Prize


Jeanne Bryner’s new book of poetry, Both Shoes Off, Bottom Dog Press, (April 2016) has been nominated for the Paterson Poetry Prize.

About her work:

“I love Jeanne Bryner’s poetry for the way it pulls me out of being lost in relentless abstract thinking and returns me to the real world of nature and people who know how to live and work in it. Jeanne sees and feels the actual world and also meanings and metaphors, and then shares her vision and her feelings in language that for me brings the word “health” to mind and then becomes: love, of the most generous kind. Love, strength and beauty radiate from Jeanne’s poems as, indeed, they do from herself, personally.”
-Gurney Norman, Kentucky author

Electoral Politics & Working-Class Literature

Sherry Linkon’s essay, “To Really Understand Working-Class Voters, Read These Books,” was published by Moyers & Company.  She argues contemporary working-class writers such as Tawni O’DellPhilipp MeyerStewart O’Nan, and Grady Hendrix delve into aspects of working-class life that are often misunderstood by political pundits and scholars.