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May Day Protest in Seattle, 2002 Welcome to the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy

The Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy is an interdisciplinary research and education initiative at the University of California, Santa Barbara that aims to expand public understanding and discussion of important issues facing working people. In cooperation with the Department of History, the Center administers an undergraduate minor in Labor Studies and a graduate-level Colloquium in Work, Labor and Political Economy. The Center also hosts conferences and workshops that contribute to an understanding, of the issues and ideas, past and present, illuminating the character of American capitalism and the working class that sustains it. The Center is part of the All-UC Miguel Contreras Labor Program.


Recent News

Caitlin Rathe on Food Stamps

Christopher Phelps on Rick Perlstein

Nelson Lichtenstein on the South

Kurt Newman on the Left

Nelson Lichtenstein on VW and Northwestern

Jean-Christian Vinel on Professors as Workers

Samir Sonti on Student Workers

Elizabeth Shermer on Faculty Unions

Kit Smemo on Liberal Republicans

Kurt Newman on US Intellectual History Blog

Nelson Lichtenstein on The AFL-CIO's new agenda.

Kurt Newman on UAW 2865's sympathy strike with AFSCME 3299.

Nelson Lichtenstein on Resistance to Obamacare.

Nelson Lichtenstein on Unions and Liberalism.

Samir Sonti on Rosa Parks' overlooked past as an activist and organizer.

Nelson Lichtenstein on Obamacare.

Nelson Lichtenstein on Michigan's Right-to-Work law.

Nelson Lichtenstein awarded 2012 Sol Stetin Award for Labor History.

  • Read his acceptance speech here.

Eileen Boris in an op-ed for the Sacramento Bee

Eileen Boris & Jennifer Klien in a New York Times op-ed


Fall 2014 Events

Shane HamiltonOctober 3/Friday/1 PM/4041 HSSB: Shane Hamilton, University of Georgia, discusses his new project, "The Global Supermarket and the End of the Cold War Farms Race.”  Professor Hamilton is the author of Trucking Country: the Road to America’s Wal-Mart Economy (2008), which won the Theodore Saloutos Award for the best book in agricultural history. He is a leading figure among historians writing a new history of capitalism. A copy of Professor Hamilton's paper can be found here.

Caitlin RosenthalOctober 17/Friday/1 PM/4041 HSSB: Caitlin Rosenthal, University of California, Berkeley, offers a paper derived from her forthcoming book, From Slavery to Scientific Management. Unlike traditional narratives that privilege the role of factories in England and the North, Rosenthal uses plantation account books to show how slavery and the slave trade facilitated the development of Taylorism and other modern management practices. Co-sponsered with the Department of Black Studies.

A copy of Professor Rosenthal’s paper can be found here.

John H. SummersOctober 24/Friday/1 PM/4041 HSSB: John H. Summers, editor of The Baffler, talks on “C. Wright Mills, Then and Now.” Summers is the editor of The Politics of Truth: Selected Writings of C. Wright Mills (2008); editor of Mass Cult and Mid Cult: Essays Against the American Grain (2011), derived from the work of Dwight Macdonald, and editor of a heretofore lost book by James Agee and Walker Evans, Cotton Tenants: Three Families (2013).

A copy of an essay by John Summers on C. Wright Mills can be found here.

Vivek ChibberNovember 13/7 PM/McCune Room, HSSB 6020: Vivek Chibber, New York University, inaugurates a conference on “Labor and Empire” that continues through November 15. Chibber is the author of Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital (2013). Conference participants include Sven Beckert, Avi Chomsky, Dana Frank, Julie Green, Paul Kramer, Jana Lipman, Elizabeth McKillen, and Steve Striffler. Co-sponsored with LABOR: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas and the Hull Chair in Feminist Studies.






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The Colloquium in Work, Labor and Political Economy will take place at 1:00pm on designated Fridays during the Spring Quarter in HSSB 4041.


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Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy
Department of History,
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9410.
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