WCSA Executive Committee, 2022~23


President: Michelle Corbin, Massachusetts

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. President: 2022-2023.

Reach the President at workingclassstudies@gmail.com

Past-President: Barbara Jensen, Minnesota

Barbara Jensen is a full-time community and counseling psychologist. Barbara has worked as a psychologist in schools, homeless shelters, psychiatric residences, and in 35 years of private practice. A musician and dramatist, she works with groups to integrate mental health with art and Drama therapies.  As a scholar, she has led lectures and workshops most of her adult life on Class and Classism in a wide range of settings: parent educators, public schools, colleges, prisons, and mental health clinics, the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services and peer supervision groups of therapists.  

Over 20 years, she developed and taught a variety of courses at Metropolitan State University: including Community Psychology, Working in America, and Psychology of Women.  She is a founding member of the Working Class Studies Association (WCSA), and co-chaired the first WCSA conference in St. Paul in 2007 at Macalester College and was president of the WCSA in 2013.  She published Reading Classes: On Culture, and Classism in America in 2012 with Cornell University Press. Her latest publication is in the Routledge International Handbook of Working Class Studies. In 2022 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from WCSA.  Interim Past-President: 2022-2023.

President-Elect: Jen Vernon, California

Jen Vernon is a community college professor and working-class poet. She teaches Communication and multimedia Journalism at Sierra College. Prior to Sierra, she worked at University of Alaska SE as an assistant professor and program coordinator. There she built community-based learning opportunities for students with public radio, and collaborated on performance poetry projects such as Juneau’s “Poetry Should Ride the Bus.” She is a first-generation college graduate who started at community college and earned an MA in International Studies from U of Oregon and a PhD in Communication from UC San Diego. Her book Rock Candy, West End, is a past recipient of a Tillie Olsen from WCSA and she’s had the honor to judge in this category in recent years. She got more involved with the Association with the international turn signaled by the 2019 Conference in Kent. She’s excited to be here. President-Elect: 2022-2023.

Treasurer: Ken Estey, New York

Ken Estey is an associate professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College and the author of A New Protestant Labor Ethic at Work. His research centers on the intersection of politics and religion with a particular focus on labor and Christianity. He’s interested in labor ethics which combines class, religion and labor studies to discuss the rights of workers and their self-determination. This stems from his study of religion, particularly theological ethics, as well as labor studies including the history of the cooperative movement, labor management cooperation and syndicalism. He earned a Ph.D. from the Union Theological Seminary in Social Ethics. He works in interdisciplinary programs and coordinates undergraduate internships at Brooklyn College. He’s been a longtime member of the Working-Class Studies Association. Treasurer: 2022-2023.

At-Large Members 

Rosie O’Halloran, Ireland

Amanda-Rose ‘Rosie’ O’Halloran is a sociologist from Drimnagh, Dublin 12. In 2015, during a 10-year career as a social care worker with Magdalene Laundry survivors and other institutionalised individuals she became interested in the social structures that create the conditions in which such oppressive, abusive, and exploitative institutions can exist and thrive. As a result, she returned to formalised education and completed her B.A (Hons) in Sociology at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) following a move from Ireland to the UK. She was active in the successful movement to repeal the 8th amendment of the Irish constitution which banned abortion care and was a co-founder of ‘East Midlands Together For Yes’. She has an MPhil in the Sociology of Reproduction from the University of Cambridge. Her PhD is also at the University of Cambridge and is funded by The European Social Research Council’s Doctoral Training Partnership. She is supervised by Dr Lucy van de Wiel and Professor Sarah Franklin. Her work takes a postcolonial perspective examining the affect of shame on people from Ireland who have travelled for abortion care. At–Large: 2021-2023.

Kim McAloney, Oregon

Kim serves as the Coordinator and Instructor of the College Student Services Administration (CSSA) Ecampus at Oregon State University, (OSU) providing leadership and support for its online masters program. Previously, she worked as the academic engagement coordinator in the Educational Opportunities Program at OSU, where she coordinated the EOP Bridge Program and tutoring services in OSU’s cultural resource centers and served as an academic counselor. Prior to her work in CSSA and EOP, Kim worked in OSU’s Office of the Dean of Student Life coordinating student support for the CSSA program and serving as the on-campus coordinator for the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program. Kim’s training includes a Ph.D. in Language, Equity and Educational Policy, OSU, Dissertation: Virtual Liberatory Women of Color Mentorship; an M.S. in College Student Services Administration, OSU, Thesis: The Need for Diversity Related Professional Development; and a B.S. in Ethnic Studies, OSU. Her areas of emphasis focus on access and equity in higher education, first generation college students, bi/multiracial identity development and teaching pedagogy. At-Large: 2022-2024.

Lisa A. Kirby, Texas

Dr. Lisa A. Kirby is Professor of English and Director of The Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College, a two-year institution where she teaches writing and American literature. Lisa earned her M.A. in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and completed her Ph.D. in English at Texas Christian University. Her research areas include Working-Class Studies, 20th-century American literature, and the rhetoric of disaster. Along with Dr. Laura Hapke, she is co-editor of A Class of Its Own: Re-envisioning American Labor Fiction (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008). Her work has also appeared in Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary JournalPhilip Roth StudiesThe Journal of Popular CultureAcademic Exchange Quarterly, and Race, Gender, and Class. Lisa is also the founding Director of The Texas Center for Working-Class Studies, an organization that seeks to raise awareness about working-class issues with students, faculty, and the community at Collin College. She has been a member of the Working-Class Studies Association since 2001 and has served on several committees. At-Large: 2022-2024.

Working-Class Academics Section

Chair: Emma Penney, Ireland

Dr. Emma Penney is a leading scholar of Working-Class Studies in Ireland and has played a central role in efforts to decolonise Irish Studies through conferences, events and publishing. She is co-founder of the UCD Decolonial Platform which established a space for students to engage with and critically reflect on the curriculum and on research methods. She is co-creator of the Working-Class Writing Archive, an online digital repository of previously unpublished poetry, prose and memoir collected in working-class communities over the past five years. As an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Scholar Emma also began work on her monograph which will be published as part of the ‘Studies in Irish Literature Series’ with Liverpool University Press in early 2023. Women Writing the Margins will introduce readers to a literary and social history of writing in Irish working-class culture. Through transnational archival practice, Emma explores how writing cultures can be collectively transformative and could offer a non-traditional response during public health crises, where the experience of racism impacts significantly on people’s mental well-being, health behavior and access to health care services. Dr. Penney is a full-time faculty member at Atlantic Technological University, Ireland. Chair: 2022-2023.

Chair-Elect: Jackie Gabriel, Colorado

Jackie Gabriel is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Western Colorado University (WCU). She is also the Coordinator of the Sociology Program’s Criminal Justice Emphasis and the NCAA’s Athletics Diversity and Inclusion Designee at WCU. She is a first-generation college graduate and working-class scholar. She earned a doctorate in Sociology and a graduate certificate in International Political Economy at Colorado State University. Her graduate research focused on corporate restructuring and labor relations in manufacturing industries in the Midwest, including meatpacking and grain processing. This research has been featured on National Public Radio’s This American Life, Our Town: “What really happened when undocumented workers showed up in one Alabama town?,” episode 632.” Her more recent scholarship examines working-class culture and working-class experiences in higher education. Chair-Elect: 2022-2023.

Past-Chair: Barbara Jensen, Minnesota

Barbara Jensen is a founding member of the Working Class Studies Association, and co-chaired the first WCSA conference in St. Paul in 2007 at Macalester College and was president of the WCSA in 2013.  She published Reading Classes: On Culture, and Classism in America in 2012 with Cornell University Press. Her latest publication is in the Routledge International Handbook of Working Class Studies. In 2022 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from WCSA. Past-Chair: 2022-2023

Elections Committee

Chair: Jill Ann Harrison, Oregon

Jill Ann Harrison is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Graduate Studies at University of Oregon. She received her B.A. in Sociology from Youngstown State University in 2000 and her Ph.D. in Sociology from Ohio State University in 2009. Her research focuses on the local effects of globalization, deindustrialization and environmental change. Her book Buoyancy on the Bayou: Shrimpers Face the Rising Tide of Globalization (ILR Press 2012) examines Louisiana shrimp fishers’ survival mechanisms as people whose work-life and culture is under siege by environmental and economic change. Within the broader frame of working class studies, she studies the Rust Belt revival and the connections between work, place, and identity.

Jack Metzgar, Illinois

Jack Metzgar is Emeritus Professor of Humanities at Roosevelt University in Chicago, where he taught working adults in general education seminars.  A founder of the Midwest Center for Labor Research and founding editor of Labor Research Review, Jack also has extensive experience in labor education at Roosevelt and DePaul universities, for Illinois AFSCME and other unions, and at the AFL-CIO’s Meany Center and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He is author of Bridging the Divide: Working-Class Culture in a Middle-Class Society and Striking Steel: Solidarity Remembered.  A founder and past president of the Working-Class Studies Association, he is a regular contributor to the Working-Class Perspectives blog. 

Jason Tanenbaum, Oregon

Jason Tanenbaum is the Coordinator of Academic and Student Services in the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University.  He has earned a JD from Pepperdine University School of Law, an MCRP from Clemson University, and an MS in Political Science from University of Oregon.  His interests include urbanism/urban design, playing guitar, enjoying the beauty of Oregon, and cooking/eating tasty food.  He has co-founded an independent record label and published a study on the regulation of food trucks.

Joining the Leadership Team

WCSA is a member-led organization and elections are held each year. The Leads work with members on committees to carry out the work of the Association: organizing conferences, hosting events, 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! To learn about our various positions and standing committees, please see our bylaws. Come join us and bring your talents to the table!

*Featured image, Marvin Mayer, Unsplash.

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