Calls for 2015 Award Submission

Deadline for Nominations: Friday, January 15, 2016

The Working-Class Studies Association (WCSA) invites nominations (including self-nominations) for awards covering the year of 2015. Award categories are:

  • Tillie Olsen Award for Creative Writing: Published books of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and other genres.
  • C.L.R. James Award for Published Books for Academic or General Audiences
  • Russo & Linkon Award for Published Article or Essay for Academic or General Audiences
  • Studs Terkel Award for Media and Journalism: Single published articles or series, broadcast media, multimedia, and film.
  • Constance Coiner Award for Best Dissertation: Completed dissertations.

In all categories, we invite nominations of excellent work that provides insightful and engaging depictions of working-class life, culture, and movements; addresses issues related to the working class; and highlights the voices, experiences, and perspectives of working-class people.

To be eligible, works must have been published (in the case of books or articles) or completed (in the case of films and dissertations) between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015.

To nominate a work for consideration, please send three hard copies (submit books and dissertations on paper, other materials may be submitted on paper or in electronic form) with a cover letter, identifying the category in which you are nominating the work and a brief explanation of why you think the work deserves recognition. Nominations are due by January 15, 2016. Submit nominations to:

Dr. Christie Launius

Director, Women’s and Gender Studies

Sage Hall 3457

UW Oshkosh

Oshkosh, WI  54901

For more information and electronic submissions, contact Christie Launius, WCSA Past-President, at

Winners will be announced at the 2016 How Class Works conference at SUNY Stony Brook, June 9-11, 2016. Winners will receive free conference registration and a plaque.

The Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Second Annual Conference

The Texas Center for Working-Class Studies, housed at Collin College, will be hosting its second annual Working-Class Studies conference for interested scholars and students. The conference will consist of panels in a range of disciplines and on a variety of issues related to social class and labor issues, both historical and contemporary. The keynote speaker will be noted Working-Class Studies scholar Dr. Sherry Linkon, Professor of English at Georgetown University. Those interested should submit an abstract of no more than 150 words to Dr. Lisa A. Kirby, Director of the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies and Professor of English, at, by January 29, 2016.

Please click on the following link Collin College CFP for more information.

2015 Call for Research Papers in Wisconsin Labor and Working-Class History

The Wisconsin Labor History Society (WLHS) announces the fourteenth annual Frank Zeidler Academic Award for original research papers about Wisconsin labor and working-class history. The awards are named in memory of Milwaukee Mayor Frank P. Zeidler (in office 1948-1960) for his lifelong efforts toward the advancement of Wisconsin’s working class and his devotion to opportunities for all.

Submissions must be postmarked no later than January 11, 2016.  A panel of labor historians will review all papers, select finalists, and determine the prizewinner in each category.


Click on the following link for more information:

In Memoriam ~ Pepi Leistyna

It is with great sadness that we share the news that our colleague, Pepi Leistyna, passed away earlier this year.  Pepi was a Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts at Boston where he taught classes on critical pedagogy, cultural studies, and media literacy and directed the Center for World Languages and Cultures.  He was an elected member of the WCSA’s steering committee and served on the program committee for the 2010 How Class Works conference.  His contributions to the field include the documentary, Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class, which won the Studs Terkel Award for Media and Journalism in 2007, and several ground-breaking publications: Breaking Free: The Transformative Power of Critical Pedagogy, The Presence of Mind: Education and the Politics of Deception, Defining and Designing Multiculturalism, Cultural Studies: From Theory to Action, and his most recent book, Television and Working Class Identity: Intersecting Differences.  He served on the editorial boards of Radical Teacher, Public Resistance, the Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies as well as several others and won the 2013 Peace Maker Award for his work on the Whole9 Peace Project.

For additional information about Pepi’s commitment to social justice and activism, see the tributes published by Radical Teacher and the National Education Policy Center.

Class Action Activist Class Cultures Kit Now Available

Class Action has recently added an Activist Class Cultures Kit to its arsenal of educational materials and activities around social class. Executive Director Anne Phillips describes the kit as “a comprehensive guide to understanding your own class experience, seeing class culture traits around you, collaborating better with others from class backgrounds different than your own, and implementing the strengths of each class to help your social justice organization succeed. It’s full of videos, quizzes, tips, and stories about real progressive activist groups facing class culture challenges.” Based on CA’s “Bridging Activist Class Cultures” workshops, the site includes a discussion guide for groups reading Betsy Leondar-Wright’s Missing Class: Strengthening Social Movement Groups by Seeing Class Cultures.

Film premiere of Exit Zero

Exit Zero: Family and Class in Postindustrial Chicago by MIT anthropologist Christine Walley won WCSA’s 2013 C.L.R. James Prize for the Best Book for Academic or General Audiences. Christine and her filmmaker spouse Chris Boebel have now produced a movie version of Exit Zero, subtitled An Industrial Family Story. It premieres October 22-25 at the Margaret Mead Film Festival in New York City, and after that it will be shown in various venues around the country.

Film Screening of Voices of the Lumbee

Voices of the Lumbee, winner of this year’s WCSA’s Studs Terkel Prize for Media and Journalism, will be screened at the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute in Durham, NC as part of Duke University’s Rights! Camera! Action! film series on Tuesday, October 20th at 6:30 pm.  A discussion will follow led by filmmakers Michele Fazio and Jason Hutchens.

Digital Storytelling

Jane Van Galen, a first-generation college student now an Education Professor at University of Washington Bothell, has posted fourteen digital stories created by first-generation college students, First In Our Families: Digital Stories of First Generation Students. A collaboration with Class Action, each story is just a few minutes as the author reads a prose poem with images, music and silence woven into “elegant multimedia pieces about pride, growth, anger, tenacity, doubt, shame, and discovery as they navigate the invisible cultural and social norms of higher education.”