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PUB 329: History of Labor

Course Description

This course will focus on U.S. labor history from the mid-19th century to the present. Specifically, students will study major changes and key events impacting the nature of work, the experiences of working-class people, and the role of the American labor movement. Students will examine the intersections between labor, citizenship, and “American identity” to explore how workers from different and varied origins and cultural heritages have both individually and collectively challenged their working conditions and wage-earning status, as well as the the social discrimination they encountered in their workplace and communities. Other topics include: 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, and how government officials and state activism sometimes intervened to regulate the power of corporate capitalism and other times mobilized to limit the power of unions and workers. (3 credits)

Prerequisites

  • Enrollment in Charter Oak’s partnership program with College Unbound.
  • ENG 101: English Composition 1
  • ENG 102: English Composition 2

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Use historical and social science concepts to describe and analyze changes in work and labor in the United States.
  2. Identify key events in labor history and explain their significance in the evolution of the U.S. labor movement.
  3. Explain the role of cause and effect in the history of US labor and use social theory to analyze how cause and effect works.
  4. Describe the varied origins and experiences of workers and their families and explain how they impacted American diversity.
  5. Apply theories of human culture, social identity, economic entities, political systems, and other forms of social organization.

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading

AssignmentsWeight

Journals and Discussions

36%

Midterm Essay

30%

Final Project

34%

Total

100%

Required Text

  • 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

Course Schedule

WeekSLOsReadings and ExercisesAssignments

1

1,2,3

American Labor & Origins of Working-Class Formation

  • Readings:
    • DRAY Chapter 1 The Oppressing Hand of Avarice
    • Dubofsky, Melvyn. "The Origins of the Labor Movement in the United States: Themes from the Nineteenth Century.” Pennsylvania History, Vol. 58, No. 4, October 1991.
    • Helmbold, Lois Rita and Schofield, Ann. “Women's Labor History, 1790-1945 .” Reviews in American History, Vol. 17, No. 4 (Dec., 1989), pp. 501-518
    • Trotter, William. "African Americans and the Industrial Revolution ,” OAH Magazine, V. 15, N. 1 (Fall, 2000)
  • Videos:
    • Video: The Lowell Mill Girls
  • Read assigned readings
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete Week 1 Journal Entry

2

1,2

A Polarized Society: The Triumph of Industrial Capitalism and Early Labor Resistance

  • Readings:
    • DRAY Chapters 3 & 4: We Mean to Have Eight Hours AND Pullman's Town
    • “Statement from the Pullman Strikers (June 15, 1894).” In U.S. Strike Commission, Report on the Chicago Strike of June-July, 1894, by the United Stout Strike Commission (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1895). pp. 87-88.
    • United States & Wright, C. D. (1895). Report on the Chicago strike of June-July, 1894. Washington: G.P.O.
    • Gerteis, Joseph “The Possession of Civic Virtue: Movement Narratives of Race and Class in the Knights of Labor ." The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 108, No. 3. (November 2002), pp. 580-615.
  • Videos:
    • Video: The Industrial Economy: Crash Course in History #23
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete Week 2 Journal Entry

3

2,5

From the Shop Floor to Halls of Congress: Radicalism, Reform, War and Repression

  • Readings:
    • PPT: Singing Lecture I: on "Folk Songs and the Search for One Big Union"
  • Videos:
    • Videos: Battle of Blair and Matewan
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete Week 3 Journal Entry

4

5

The Great Depression, the New Deal and a New Labor Movement

  • Readings:
    • DRAY Chapter 5 Industrial Democracy
    • PPT: Singing Lecture II: on "Folk Songs and the Struggles of Labor"
  • Videos:
    • Videos: Flint Sitdown Strike Parts I and II
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Submit Midterm Essays
  • Complete Week 4 Journal Entry

5

2

The Cold War Consensus and radicals in the Knowledge Factory

  • Readings:
    • DRAY Chapter 7 Dynamite
    • Lichtenstein, Nelson. “Class Politics and the State during World War Two .” International Labor and Working-Class History, No. 58 (Fall, 2000).
    • Estes, Steve. "I Am a Man!': Race, Masculinity, and the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike." Labor History 41.2 (2000): 153-170.
    • England, Kim. "Women's Work: The Feminization and Shifting Meanings of Clerical Work ." Journal of Social History. Winter 2009, Vol. 43 Issue
  • Videos:
    • Video: Harvest of Shame
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete Week 5 Journal Entry

6

3,4

The Conservative 60s and Reagan’s Revolution: Public Sector Unions, Soccer Moms & Underclass Formation

  • Readings:
    • DRAY Chapter Ten If America's Soul Becomes Poisoned
    • Wilson, WJ. “The Underclass: Issues, Perspectives, and Public Policy." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 1989;501(January):182-192.
    • Arendell, Teresa. ‘Soccer Moms’ and the New Care Work. Working paper no. 16. N.p.: n.p., 2000. Web.
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete Week 6 Journal Entry

7

3

New Challenges for Labor in the Era of Globalization, 1989-2013

  • Readings:
    • DRAY Chapter 11 Time for Choosing
  • Videos:
    • Video: Hidden Faces of Globalization
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete Week 7 Journal Entry

8

5

Working into the Future: The Changing Nature of Labor and Labor Movements

  • Readings:
    • Fletcher, Bill, Jr., and Fernando Gapasin. "A Need for Social Justice Unionism ." Social Policy Spring 41.1 (2011): 16-26. Web
    • Ochoa, Enrique, and Gilda L. Ochoa. Latino Los Angeles: Transformations, Communities, and Activism. Tucson: U of Arizona, 2005. Web.
    • Dolgon, Corey “Polo Ponies and Penalty Kicks." The End of the Hamptons: Scenes from the Class Struggle in America's Paradise. Print. pp. 119-156
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete Week 8 Journal Entry
  • Submit Final Project
  • Complete Course Evaluation

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.