Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies

Looking Forward to Labor Studies in 2014

The Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies will be busy in 2014, with seven different events already scheduled for Winter quarter, including our first annual Labor Studies Social and five different events as part of our Winter 2014 Labor Studies Book Series.

Read below for more information on these events, and save the dates! We'll see you next year!


Friday, January 10

Paul Steven Miller Memorial Symposium: Exploring the Intersections of International Human Rights and Disability

9:00am-5:00pm. William H. Gates Hall, Room 138, UW Seattle. Registration required.

Join the University of Washington School of Law for a day of discussions about national and international disability legislation and implementation. Topics focus on the use of human rights conventions to advocate for persons with disabilities, with an emphasis on women, children and youth. Speakers include national and international scholars, policy makers, practitioners and activists.

Paul Steven Miller (1961- 2010) was the Henry M. Jackson Professor of Law at UW School of Law, a Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a special assistant to President Obama. He was a leader in the disability rights movement and an expert on anti-discrimination law.

Registration information, including a working agenda can be found here.

Co-sponsored by Disability Studies, Center on Human Development & Disability, Women & Sexuality Studies, Program on Values in Society, Gates Public Service Law Program, Bioethics & Humanities Department, Law, Society & Justice, Center for Global Studies, Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, Henry M. Jackson Foundation and Disability Rights Washington.

Thursday, January 30

1st Annual University of Washington Labor Studies Social

4:00pm-6:00pm. UW HUB, Room 340, UW Seattle. RSVP requested.

Join the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies for our first annual meet-and-greet dedicated to networking faculty and students at the University of Washington.

  • Meet other faculty and students interested in Labor Studies from departments across campus
  • Learn more about scholarships and research grants opportunities
  • Learn about internship opportunities with local labor organizations
  • Meet Seattle area labor leaders
  • Enjoy drinks and refreshments!

Founded in 1992, the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies supports research, teaching and community outreach at the University of Washington in order to promote the study of labor in all of its facets - locally, nationally, and worldwide.

RSVPs are not required, but are requested. To RSVP, contact the Bridges Center at 206-543-7946, or e-mail hbcls@uw.edu.

Friday, February 14

Dual Book Release: In the Interests of Others and What Unions No Longer Do

4:00pm-6:00pm. Smith Hall, Room 102, UW Seattle. Free.

Join the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies in marking the publication of two new books by University of Washington professors exploring the state of organized labor in the United States and beyond.

Drawing on the history of the waterfront unions in the United States and Australia, John Ahlquist and Margaret Levi's new book In the Interest of Others: Organizations and Social Activism (Princeton University Press, 2013) develops a new theory of organizational leadership and governance to explain why some organizations expand their scope of action in ways that do not benefit their members directly.

Jake Rosenfeld's What Unions No Longer Do (Harvard University Press, 2014) examines the consequences of the sharp decline of organized labor in the United States in past decades. Unions, Rosenfeld concludes, are no longer instrumental in combating inequality in our economy and our politics, and the result is a sharp decline in the prospects of American workers and their families.

John S. Ahlquist is the Trice Family Faculty Scholar and associate professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Margaret Levi is director for the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and formerly, the Jere L. Bacharach Professor of International Studies at the University of Washington and Foundational Chair in Politics at the University of Sydney's United States Studies Centre. Jake Rosenfeld is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington.

For more information, contact the Bridges Center at 206-543-7946, or e-mail hbcls@uw.edu.

Monday, February 17

Book Release: Jake Rosenfeld, What Unions No Longer Do

7:00pm-8:30pm. University Bookstore, 4326 University Way, N.E., Seattle, Washington 98105. Free.

Jake Rosenfeld's What Unions No Longer Do (Harvard University Press, 2014) examines the consequences of the sharp decline of organized labor in the United States in past decades. Unions, Rosenfeld concludes, are no longer instrumental in combating inequality in our economy and our politics, and the result is a sharp decline in the prospects of American workers and their families.

Jake Rosenfeld is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington, co-director of the Scholars Strategy Network Northwest (SSN-NW), and a faculty affiliate of the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology (CSDE), the West Coast Poverty Center (WCPC) and the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University in 2007. His research and teaching focuses on the political and economic determinants of inequality in the advanced democracies.

For more information, contact the Bridges Center at 206-543-7946, or e-mail hbcls@uw.edu.

Tuesday, February 25

Book Talk: Robert Self, All in the Family: The Cultural Politics of American Liberalism in Crisis

4:00pm-6:00pm. Smith Hall, Room 102, UW Seattle. Free.

Award-winning historian Robert Self's recent book All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy since the 1960s (Hill & Wang, 2012) is an exploration of how the sexual revolution, feminism(s), gay and lesbian liberation, and the new Right transformed American politics between 1964 and 2004.

Self treats the interaction and collision of these forces as an expansive process that included the multiple gender disruptions of the period: from the Vietnam War's problematic male soldier to the politics of abortion, welfare, black power, and gay liberation.

In between the Civil Rights Act (1964), Watts rioting (1965), and the Moynihan Report (1965) and the Bush-era insurgencies of the 2000s, Self traces the search for new male and female political subjectivities and the contests over manhood, feminism(s), and gay rights that remade liberalism in the intervening decades.

Robert O. Self is a professor of history at Brown University. His first book, American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland, won numerous awards, including the James A. Rawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island. He earned his PhD in History from the University of Washington in 1998.

For more information, contact the Bridges Center at 206-543-7946, or e-mail hbcls@uw.edu.

Monday, March 3

Book Release: Angela Day, Red Light to Starboard: Recalling the Exxon Valdez Disaster

7:00pm-8:30pm. University Bookstore, 4326 University Way, N.E., Seattle, Washington 98105. Free.

Red Light to Starboard: Recalling the Exxon Valdez Disaster documents the Exxon Valdez disaster that stunned the world, recounts regional and national history, and explains how oil titans came to be entrusted with a spectacular, fragile ecosystem. It discusses the disaster’s environmental consequences as well as failed governmental and public policy decisions, and tracks changes that, through opportunities for citizen input and oversight, offer hope for the future.

Author Angela Day spent nearly a decade working evenings and summers around a full-time job and graduate school in order to complete her manuscript. She is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her dissertation, currently in progress, is When the Whistle Didn’t Blow. She lives in Snohomish, Washington with her husband, Bobby Day.

For more information, contact the Bridges Center at 206-543-7946, or e-mail hbcls@uw.edu.

Thursday, March 13

Book Release: Michael Honey, John L. Handcox, the Southern Tenant Farmers' Union, and the African American Song Tradition

7:00pm-8:30pm. University Bookstore, 4326 University Way, N.E., Seattle, Washington 98105. Free.

Descended from African American slaves, Native Americans, and white slaveowners, John Handcox was born at one of the hardest times and places to be black in America. Over the first few decades of the twentieth century, he survived attempted lynchings, floods, droughts, and the ravages of the Great Depression to organize black and white farmers alike on behalf of the Southern Tenant Farmers' Union. He also became one of the most beloved folk singers of the prewar labor movement, composing songs such as "Roll the Union On" and "There Is Mean Things Happening in this Land" that bridged racial divides and kept the spirits of striking workers high. Though he withdrew from the public eye for nearly forty years, missing the "folk boom" of the 1960s, he resurfaced decades later - just in time to denounce the policies of the Reagan administration in song - and his work was embraced by new generations of labor activists and folk music devotees.

Michael Honey's fascinating and beautifully told history gives us John Handcox in his own words, recounting a journey that began in a sharecropper's shack in the Deep South and went on to shape the labor music tradition, all amid the tangled and troubled history of the United States in the twentieth century.

Michael Honey is the Fred T. and Dorothy G. Haley Endowed Professor of the Humanities at The University of Washington, USA, and was a 2011 Guggenheim fellow. He is author of numerous award-winning books on labor, race relations, and Southern history, including Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign (Norton, 2007). His interviews and writing regularly appear in national media such as The Atlantic, NPR/Fresh Air, The Nation, History News Network, ColorLines, and many other print and digital publications.

For more information, contact the Bridges Center at 206-543-7946, or e-mail hbcls@uw.edu.


Thursday, January 23

Talk: Labor's Existential Crisis: Bob Brock in Discussion

6:00pm-8:00pm. Eastern Cafe, UW Seattle.

It's a modern platitude that the labor movement is facing an existential crisis. Looking at the numbers, this narrative is hard to dispute. Last year only 11.3 percent of American wage earners belonged to a union, down nearly half a percent from the year before. The union density numbers are at a historic low and they’re not expected to rise anytime soon. Reeling from the concerted efforts to crush public sector unions in Wisconsin and Ohio, labor at least as conventionally imagined is certainly facing hard times.

But is labor’s crisis terminal? What lessons can be learned from the history of the labor movement? And what are new workers’ movements doing about it?

Bob Brock is an organizing coordinator for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. He’s joining the Commoners’ Club and a panel of discussants to provide some historical context for labor’s present situation and to address the frontiers of new workers’ movements. Together we’ll examine how direct action networks, a momentous minimum-wage campaign, and re-imagined unions might respond to the present crisis of labor.



Top three UW student organizations for global change (Seattle Globalist)

The University of Washington is gigantic. It enrolls more than 42,000 students and employs almost 30,000 others. But that’s still miniscule compared to the billions of people struggling in the world. These students use their own UW connections to look beyond the UW, and beyond Seattle, to make a global impact.

“I think that most people are overwhelmed with the idea of doing work on a global capacity, but United Students Against Sweatshops has found a very strategic way of recognizing student power and using the tools we have as part of a huge university,” said Emily Garverick, a junior at the UW who is majoring in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts and Law, Societies, and Justice.

Garverick was co-chair of the UW chapter of USAS last year, but has been involved since her freshman year toward the end of the Sodexo campaign.

“I was initially interested in USAS because I was looking for a group on campus that was working for a good cause, where I could make a difference,” she said. “The things that made USAS stand out to me as a freshman were the sense of community in the group — everybody had a role to play and made decisions collectively rather than putting one or two people in charge — and also that everybody seemed so excited and motivated.” | Read more


John Ahlquist and Margaret Levi interviewed by Australian radio

On December 3, the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, the Australian National Maritime Museum, and the Maritime Union of Australia co-sponsored a launch of the new book In the Interest of Others: Organizations and Social Activism by John Ahlquist and Margaret Levi. The event was held at the Museum on Darling Harbour in Sydney. Ahlquist and Levi also did an interview about the book on ABC Radio Late Night Live. They discussed their new book and how unions might mobilize workers in new ways. | Listen


Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy Seeks Public Policy/Labor Research Interns

The Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy (CASP) is a non-profit action-research think tank that studies and shapes how legal cannabis policy intersects with wider social policy concerns, such as public health, socioeconomic mobility, racial justice, and public safety. This is an exciting and wide-open research field, and the rest of the world is watching to see how state-legal cannabis works out as a geographic policy experiment.

We are looking for students who are excited to produce and process knowledge that can shape legal cannabis policy trajectories. Primarily, interns will focus on producing and disseminating the Center’s original research. You do not need specific experience in cannabis policy, but a solid foundation in social or public policy is preferred. Graduate and advanced undergraduate students interested in pursuing original research questions related to cannabis policy are also encouraged to apply. | Read more


Plenum, UW Undergraduate Journal of Geography, Seeks Submissions

Plenum, the UW Undergraduate Journal of Geography, is accepting submissions for its Spring 2014 publication!

Plenum accepts submissions from any department so long as they reflect spatial relationships and the importance of place. We will consider original research papers as well as term papers from any course.

If you are not sure your paper qualifies, we recommend that you submit it anyway! You would be surprised how often geographical themes apply to other disciplines.

We will work with accepted submissions for the purpose of further developing undergraduate work. This will involve several rounds of review and workshop with peers, graduate students, and journal editors.

We will be accepting papers until mid-February.

Please direct your questions and submissions to uwgeogjournal@gmail.com. You can find out more on at plenumjournal.org.

2014 Association for Asian Studies Conference - Dissertation Workshop Seeks Applications on Themes of "Dispossession, Capital, and the State"

March 30-April 2, 2014
Philadelphia, PA

Deadline: January 6, 2014

he Association for Asian Studies and the Social Science Research Council are pleased to announce the third jointly organized AAS/SSRC Dissertation Workshop, which will be held in conjunction with the AAS annual conference in Philadelphia in March 2014.

All across Asia access to and control over land has long been highly contested. Both historically and today capital and states have variously combined to drive rural populations from their lands for plantation crops, mining, industrial sites, urban expansion, dams, roads and other public works. The results have included destruction of the commons, environmental and ecological disasters, land invasions, armed resistance, police and military confrontations, massive displacement, urban migration, urban and peri-urban slums, and alienation. Likewise, long established villages and urban communities have been displaced for redevelopment and gentrification. Such events appear to be gaining intensity over time and have been documented and dramatized in chronicles, novels, poems, and songs as well as by field and archival research. Capital and state beneficiaries may claim it is the inevitable “creative destruction,” necessary for long term economic progress and regime enhancement, but it has also led to massive social and economic inequities, “surplus” populations, and political turmoil.

This workshop is intended to bring together doctoral students, regardless of citizenship, in the humanities and social sciences who are (1) developing dissertation proposals or are in early phases of research or dissertation writing; and who are (2) planning, conducting, or are in the early phases of writing up dissertation research on these evolving processes, outcomes, and debates across the various regions of Asia. It is the hope that fuller understanding of the links and comparisons across space and time will both strengthen the individual projects and provide new perspectives on dispossession in Asia, and beyond. The workshop will be limited to 12 students, ideally from a broad array of disciplines and working on a wide variety of materials in a variety of time periods, and in various regions of Asia. It also will include a small multidisciplinary and multi-area faculty with similar concerns. | Read more

Migration and ethnicity in mining history (worldwide) - Call for papers for a Special Issue of the International Review of Social History 2015

Mining in every form is a truly global industry. Being place-bound by geology, often originating in isolated places, and always labour intensive, mining was dependent on migrant labour in almost every district. Cross-border migratory labour connected mining areas, regions and countries, and mobilised both experienced miners and new groups of workers of a variety of national and ethnic descent. Therefore, the history of mining labour is not only a global, but often a transnational history as well. Ethnic minority groups were also mobilised from within national states, however. These salient features of mining labour have generated a lot of research, especially in labour history, both in different European countries, America, Japan, China, and in former colonies like, for instance, India, Indonesia, Australia/New Zealand, Nigeria, and Southern Africa. While in this research many insights can be gained on the issues of class solidarity, race discrimination, and ethnic identity in individual mining districts, what is still lacking is a comparative perspective on a global scale.

In this special issue we want to concentrate on comparative research on migration and ethnicity in mining history across all five continents. Comparative studies of groups such as, for instance, Koreans in Japan, black miners in the United States and South-Africa, Italians, Poles and Moroccans in European countries, Irish in Britain, could do much to sharpen our understanding of the impact of migration and ethnicity, not only in the history of mining, but also in labour history in general.

We invite participants to present papers on the impact of migration and ethnicity on:

  • workers struggles and labour relations
  • forced migration and mining labour of specific ethnic groups
  • oscillatory peasant-miners and subcontracting
  • segmentation and discrimination in mining labour markets
  • transnational labour mobility and ethnic diasporas
  • the mining community between integration and segregation

Comparative papers studying developments in mining districts in different countries and continents would be most welcome. | Read more

December 23, 2013


Bridges Center Events

Events of Interest

News & Announcements

Support the Bridges Center



Living Wage Campaigns and Laws

Margaret Levi and David Olson, UW Political Science, and Erich Steinman, UW Sociology

As SeaTac, WA's new $15 minimum wage makes national news, revisit the Bridges Center's 2002 study of the economic and political implications of living wage campaigns.



Bernie Whitebear and the Urban Indian Fight for Land and Justice

A new Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History report by student Joseph Madsen about the inspirational leader of the 1970 Fort Lawton takeover.



W. Ivan King Photographs and Log Books, 1983-2007

A former UW student, long-time racial and social justice advocate, and avid photographer, W. Ivan King's collection contains approximately 55,000 photographs of ethnic cultural events, local social activism, unions, and more.


Support the Bridges Center

Please support the work of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies.

Donations can be made to the Bridges Center on-line securely with a credit card, or with a check by downloading our donation form. All gifts are tax-deductible.

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