The Chronicle of Higher Education Interviews Scholars Who Study the Working Class

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Katherine Mangan interviewed Sherry Lee Linkon, professor of English at Georgetown University and blog editor of Working-Class Perspectives, and John B. Russo, Visiting Scholar at the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University and Visiting Research Fellow at the Metropolitan Institute of Virginia Tech University, on the future of working-class studies after the presidential election and the reopening of the Center for Working-Class Studies at Youngstown State University.  Mangan writes, “They’re hoping the focus on working-class issues in the aftermath of President Trump’s election will prove a boon to their centers, many of which operate on shoestring budgets.” Click here to read the full article.


Fazio returns to Bridgewater State University for several events

WCSA President Dr. Michele Fazio visited Bridgewater State University for several events last month. The visit was organized by BSU’s Class Beyond the Classroom (CBtC), along with BSU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Honors Program, and the Service Learning and Civic Engagement Initiative, with the support of BSU’s Promoting Diversity Grant.

Dr. Fazio shared her story as a panelist for an Our Stories event with other CBtC members, including Cynthia Svoboda and Dr. Christine Brandon. The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Colby King, and involved each panelist sharing their story of going to college as a working-class and/or first-generation college student with an audience of more than 50 students.

Dr. Fazio also led a service-learning workshop titled “Class, Community, and Culture: Documenting Southeastern Working-Class Life in the Service-Learning Classroom,” hosted by Dr. Christy Lyons, in which she discussed her multi-semester oral history service-learning project on archiving the work histories of the Lumbee Tribe.

Later that day, Dr. Fazio led a Pizza and Professors discussion hosted by Dr. Teresa King and the Honors Center, during which she discussed her experience teaching an Honor’s course on social justice, inequality, and migrant farmworkers. She provided an overview of students’ service-learning projects currently in progress to promote National Farmworker’s Awareness Week, and discussed her current research project on labor radicalism and Italian American working-class culture.

The visit to BSU was particularly noteworthy because Dr. Fazio is an alum of BSU.our-stories-feb-21-2017

CfP: The Routledge International Handbook of Working Class Studies

Call For Proposals

The Routledge International Handbook of Working Class Studies

Co-editors: Michele Fazio (UNC Pembroke), Christie Launius (UW Oshkosh), and Tim Strangleman (University of Kent)

Deadline: May 1, 2017

The co-editors of The Routledge International Handbook of Working Class Studies (under contract with Routledge Press) are seeking proposals for chapters. While we have lined up many contributors already, we are now soliciting proposals to round out the volume.  

The book will be organized into eight sections.  The first section will be an editorial introduction that will provide a brief history of the field, as well as sketch out its current status.  The final section will be entitled “New Directions in Working Class Studies,” and will bring together, in dialogue, voices representing the field’s founding as well as voices of the next generation of scholars, teachers, and activists.  The remaining six sections will be thematic in focus, and will each contain 4-5 chapters: Methods, Class and Education, Work and Community, Working-Class Cultures, Representations, and Activism and Collective Action.  The complete prospectus can be made available via the contact information below.  

 We are seeking proposals for chapters in each of the six thematic sections. The completed essays will be 5,000-6,000 words in length. 

If you would like to propose a chapter for the volume, please submit a 1-page proposal that includes a title, description of the proposed chapter, and the section that it would be included in.  Please also provide a short CV and a brief paragraph that describes your involvement in the field.  

Deadline for proposals: May 1st, 2017 (with notification of acceptance or rejection by early June)

First drafts of chapters are due on August 1st, 2017.  We plan to have comments back to all contributors by mid-October, and will collect revised manuscripts from all contributors by January 2018.  

Please send materials via e-mail to Christie Launius at <>.

WCSA member Steve Early publishes “Refinery Town” on multi-racial, working class politics at the municipal level

Steve Early’s Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of an American City discusses multi-racial, working class politics through the story of the Richmond Progress Alliance (RPA)Since 2004, RPA candidates have won 10 out of 16 races for mayor or city council. Richmond progressives now have a five-member super-majority on the Richmond council, which includes 26-year old Melvin Willis, a rent control campaign organizer.

Willis finished first in a field of nine candidates last November. As the youngest city councilor in Richmond’s history, he is now helping to implement rent regulation, a roll-back of recent rent hikes affecting thousands of Richmond tenants, and new legal protection against their being evicted without just cause.

Refinery Town includes a Foreword by Bernie Sanders.

For more information on the lessons of successful labor-community organizing in Richmond, you can order Steve’s book directly from the publisher.
Steve and former CWA president Larry Cohen recently discussed the RPA and Our Revolution’s strategy for building local organization at a bookstore event in Washington, DC.  Click here to watch it on C-Span Book-TV.
Hundreds have already attended book parties and forums with Steve in dozens of major US cities.  See schedule here for more information on upcoming events in Sacramento, Chicago, Minneapolis-St Paul, Portland, Seattle, and other cities click here.

WCSA 2017-18 Election Nominations

The nominations process is now open for the WCSA elections in June. There will be blast-email calls for nominations in April and May, but it is not too early to submit nominations, including self-nominations. Simply email your nominee to Elections Committee Chair Lisa Kirby at If you are nominating somebody besides yourself, please seek their permission before nominating and simply copy them on your email nomination to Lisa. No biographical rationale is necessary at this point.

The open positions for 2017-18 are: President-Elect, Treasurer, Secretary, two at-large members of the Steering Committee (one graduate student and one independent scholar), and one member of the Elections Committee. In addition, former members of the Association of Working-Class Academics need to nominate and elect a Chair-Elect for the new WCSA Working-Class Academics Section.