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Conference May 20-21: “Work, Capitalism, and Democracy: Past, Present, and Future”

May 20, 2022 - May 21, 2022


The Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy hosts a conference, May 20 and 21, 2022 entitled: “Work, Capitalism, and Democracy: Past, Present, and Future.”

It will be held in the McCune Room, HSSB 6020. Many former students and contemporary colleagues of Nelson Lichtenstein will deliver papers on a wide variety of topics bearing on the conference theme.

Work, capitalism, and democracy. Historians have spent decades considering their interwoven connections and how each has shaped and animated American politics, economy, and society. This conference interrogates the changing shape of historical work on these themes since the early 1980s, when Center director Nelson Lichtenstein’s first book reshaped how a new generation of scholars thought about the struggle between workers, capitalists, and the state apparatus during World War II. Since the publication of Labor’s War at Home: The CIO in World War II, labor history has been transformed from an exciting but discrete subject that probed working-class mentalities to an ever expanding interpretative approach than now encompasses the study of race, gender, capitalism, social thought, legal history and theory, government social policy, and partisan politics. Lichtenstein’s own work has tracked this scholarly advance: probing at various times and venues the social ecology of wildcat strikes, the meaning of rights at work and in society, the theory and practice of corporatism, the rise and demise of the giant corporation, the structures governing global supply chains, and the promise and failure of liberal politics in 20th century America. Those making presentations and other interventions at the Work, Capitalism, and Democracy: Past, Present, and Future conference will offer fresh perspectives on these and many other themes taken from their own research and that of the new generation of historians of which they are such a vital part.  

Funding for this conference has come from UCSB’s graduate division, history department, Hull Chair of Feminist Studies, College of Letters & Science, Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, and Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy.




HSSB 6020 (McCune Room)
University of California Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106 United States
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