This course provides a general introduction to U.S. labor history from the mid-19th century to the present, focusing specifically on major changes and key events impacting the nature of work, the experiences of working-class people, and the role of the American labor movement. We will examine the intersections between labor, citizenship, and “American identity” to explore how workers from different and varied origins and cultural heritages have challenged (both individually and collectively) their working conditions, wage-earning status, and the social discrimination they encountered in their workplace and communities. We will also examine how certain notions of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, and citizenship contributed to moments of solidarity and/or fragmentation among working men and women in their jobs, unions, and communities. Finally, we will assess how government officials, and state activism more generally, sometimes intervened to regulate the power of corporate capitalism while other times mobilized to limit the power of unions and workers. Regardless, these state actions inspired changes in the structure of labor relations, the American economy, and workers’ everyday lives.
Enrollment in Charter Oak’s partnership program with College Unbound. Completion of Cornerstone Course. The College Unbound program is a competency-based program that is a hybrid of on-site cohort support/online course system. With that, course materials are delivered online, but students are frequently asked to engage with fellow students and their communities’ in-person.
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:
- Use historical and social science concepts to describe and analyze changes in work and labor in the United States.
- Identify key events in labor history and explain their significance in the evolution of the U.S. labor movement.
- Explain the role of cause and effect in the history of US labor and use social theory to analyze how cause and effect works.
- Describe the varied origins and experiences of workers and their families and explain how they impacted American diversity.
- Apply theories of human culture, social identity, economic entities, political systems, and other forms of social organization.
General Education Outcomes (GEOs)
Course Activities and Grading
Journals and Discussions
- Dray, Philip (2010). There is Power in a Union. Anchor Press. ISBN-10: 0-307-38976-6 or ISBN-13: 978-0-307-38976-3
|Week||SLOs||Readings and Exercises||Assignment(s)|
American Labor & Origins of Working-Class Formation
A Polarized Society: The Triumph of Industrial Capitalism and Early Labor Resistance
From the Shop Floor to Halls of Congress: Radicalism, Reform, War and Repression
The Great Depression, the New Deal and a New Labor Movement
The Cold War Consensus and radicals in the Knowledge Factory
The Conservative 60s and Reagan’s Revolution: Public Sector Unions, Soccer Moms & Underclass Formation
New Challenges for Labor in the Era of Globalization, 1989-2013
Working into the Future: The Changing Nature of Labor and Labor Movements
COSC Accessibility Statement
Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.
COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources
Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.