Executive Committee


President: Joseph Varga, Indiana University

Joseph Varga is a former Teamster shop steward and long time labor activist, having worked for the IBEW and the New York State Working Families Party. He worked numerous jobs before entering academics, including truck driving, forklift operating, and service work. He received his doctorate in Sociology and Historical Studies in 2008 from the New School for Social Research, and taught in the Department of History at Brooklyn College before arriving at IU in 2009. His research interests include labor geography and spatial analysis as applied to working-class communities, and the phenomenology of working-class experience. He is currently working on a project detailing the spatial history of de-industrialization in Southern Indiana.  Joe is also active in Jobs with Justice, and numerous other activist causes. Joe is a member of the United Association of Labor Educators, and is co-chair of UALE’s On-Line Education Working Group. He is also a member of the Working Class Studies Association, the American Historical Association, the Adjunct Faculty Coalition of IUPUI, and the IUPUI LGBT Faculty Staff Council.

Past-President: Allison Hurst, Oregon State University

Allison L. Hurst is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the School of Public Policy at Oregon State University, where she teaches courses on the sociology of higher education, class inequality and social mobility, and sociological theory. She is one of the founders and current President of the Association of Working-Class Academics. Her current research explores the school to work transitions of college graduates.

President-Elect: Michelle Corbin, Worcester State University

Michelle Corbin is a feminist anti-racist sociologist whose work focuses on inequality across race, class, gender and sexuality.  Across her teaching and scholarship, she investigates the role of  knowledge in relations of power and resistance.  
As a teacher-scholar at a regional state college, she is dedicated to public higher education as a public good and an ongoing liberatory project for marginalized communities. 

Treasurer: Marc DiPaolo, Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Marc DiPaolo is an Associate Professor of English at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Treasurer of the Working-Class Studies Association, and Secretary for the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States. He has written the ethnic biomythography Fake Italian for Bordighera Press (2021), and the monographs Fire and Snow: Climate Fiction from the Inklings to Game of Thrones (2018) and War, Politics, and Superheroes (CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title 2011). He has edited three additional American Studies books, including Unruly Catholics from Dante to Madonna: Faith, Heresy, and Politics in Cultural Studies (2007) and Working-Class Comic Book Heroes (2018). He has been interviewed on NPR, BBC4, and in the documentaries Geek and You Shall Find (2019) and Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics (s1e4, 2017).

Secretary: Nathaniel Heggins Bryant, California State University, Chico

I’m a military brat but I call Virginia and North Carolina home. I work in American literature and film and regularly teach both, usually using those classes to examine social justice issues concerning prison writing, working-class studies, critical race studies, and multiethnic American and world literature (particularly science fiction). I have published articles on the Soledad Brother George Jackson; Caryl Chessman; and the early Soviet film director Lev Kuleshov and his film By the Law, an adaptation of a Jack London short story. I’m currently working on a paper examining ecological concerns in Hiyao Miyazaki’s anime and manga series Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and a project tracing out the genealogy of ‘green’ metal music. In my spare time, I enjoy reading comic books and graphic novels, playing video games (especially Bethesda titles), going to the movies, and exploring California.

At-Large Members

Jen Vernon, Sierra College

Rosie O’Halloran, University of Cambridge

Elwood David Watson, East Tennessee State University

Lindsay Bartkowski, Temple University

Working-Class Academics Section

Chair: Barbara Jensen, independent scholar and psychologist

Chair-elect: Emma Penney, University College Cork

Elections Committee

Chair: Jill Ann Harrison, University of Oregon

Jack Metzgar, Roosevelt University in Chicago

Jason Tanenbaum, Oregon State University

Digital Communication Lead

Jen Vernon, Sierra College

Social Media Manager

Rosie O’Halloran, University of Cambridge

WCSA is a member-led organization. Elections are held each year and members elect the Executive Committee. The WCSA leadership works with members on committees to carry out the work of the Association: organizing conferences, hosting event, running awards, connecting mentors and mentees, developing and carrying out social media, hosting poetry and film sessions, gathering and sharing out critical pedagogy, and more! Come join us and bring your talents to the table!