shopping_cart

Labor History

Labor History Book List

Cover of 'Nation on Board'

Nation on Board
Becoming Nigerian at Sea
By Lynn Schler

Schler’s study of Nigerian seamen during Nigeria’s transition to independence provides a fresh perspective on the meaning of decolonization for ordinary Africans. She traces the workers’ shift from optimism to disillusionment, providing a working-class perspective on nation building in Nigeria and illustrating the hopes for independence and subsequent disappointments.

Cover of 'Diamonds in the Rough'

Diamonds in the Rough
Corporate Paternalism and African Professionalism on the Mines of Colonial Angola, 1917–1975
By Todd Cleveland

Diamonds in the Rough explores the lives of African laborers on Angola’s diamond mines from the commencement of operations in 1917 to the colony’s independence from Portugal in 1975. The mines were owned and operated by the Diamond Company of Angola, or Diamang, which enjoyed exclusive mining and labor concessions granted by the colonial government. Through these monopolies, the company became the most profitable enterprise in Portugal’s African empire.

Winner of the 2015 Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize for outstanding book on African women’s experiences from the African Studies Association · Honorable Mention, New York African Studies Association Book Prize
Cover of 'Making Modern Girls'

Making Modern Girls
A History of Girlhood, Labor, and Social Development in Colonial Lagos
By Abosede A. George

In Making Modern Girls, Abosede A. George examines the influence of African social reformers and the developmentalist colonial state on the practice and ideology of girlhood as well as its intersection with child labor in Lagos, Nigeria. It draws from gender studies, generational studies, labor history, and urban history to shed new light on the complex workings of African cities from the turn of the twentieth century through the nationalist era of the 1950s.

Cover of 'Marikana'

Marikana
Voices from South Africa’s Mining Massacre
By Peter Alexander, Thapelo Lekgowa, Botsang Mmope, Luke Sinwell, and Bongani Xezwi

The Marikana Massacre of August 16, 2012, was the single most lethal use of force by South African security forces against civilians since the end of apartheid. Those killed were mineworkers in support of a pay raise.

Cover of 'Irish People, Irish Linen'

Irish People, Irish Linen
By Kathleen Curtis Wilson

The story of Irish linen is a story of the Irish people. Many thousands of men and women made Irish linen a global product and an international brand. It is also a story of innovation and opportunity. Irish linen has served its makers as sail cloth of incredible strength and durability for world exploration and trade; it has functioned as watertight containers for farmers and firemen; it has soothed the brows of royalty and absorbed the sweat of the working class.

Cover of 'The Borders of Integration'

The Borders of Integration
Polish Migrants in Germany and the United States, 1870–1924
By Brian McCook

A comparative study of Polish migrants in the Ruhr Valley and in northeastern Pennsylvania, The Borders of Integration questions assumptions about race and white immigrant assimilation a hundred years ago, highlighting how the Polish immigrant experience is relevant to present-day immigration debates. It shows the complexity of attitudes toward immigration in Germany and the United States, challenging historical myths surrounding German national identity and the American “melting pot.”

Cover of 'A History of the Excluded'

A History of the Excluded
Making Family a Refuge from State in Twentieth-Century Tanzania
By James L. Giblin

The twentieth-century history of Njombe, the Southern Highlands district of Tanzania, can aptly be summed up as exclusion within incorporation. Njombe was marginalized even as it was incorporated into the colonial economy. Njombe’s people came to see themselves as excluded from agricultural markets, access to medical services, schooling—in short, from all opportunity to escape the impoverishing trap of migrant labor.

Cover of 'Chocolate on Trial'

Chocolate on Trial
Slavery, Politics, and the Ethics of Business
By Lowell J. Satre

At the turn of the twentieth century, Cadbury Bros. Ltd. was a successful, Quaker-owned chocolate manufacturer in Birmingham, England, celebrated for its model village, modern factory, and concern for employees. In 1901 the firm learned that its cocoa beans, purchased from Portuguese plantations on the island of São Tomé off West Africa, were produced by slave labor.

Cover of 'From Blackjacks to Briefcases'

From Blackjacks to Briefcases
A History of Commercialized Strikebreaking and Unionbusting in the United States
By Robert Michael Smith

From the beginning of the Industrial Age and continuing into the twenty-first century, companies faced with militant workers and organizers have often turned to agencies that specialized in ending strikes and breaking unions. Although their secretive nature has made it difficult to fully explore the history of this industry, From Blackjacks to Briefcases does just that.

Cover of 'Workers, War and the Origins of Apartheid'

Workers, War and the Origins of Apartheid
Labour and Politics in South Africa, 1939-48
By Peter Alexander

This book provides a significant revision of South African labor history and makes an important contribution to the debate about apartheid's genesis. Using a range of untapped sources, it shows that there was far more strike action during World War II than has been officially acknowledged. A new working class, sometimes organized into multiracial unions, won improved wages and softened racial prejudice among white workers.

Cover of 'Every Factory a Fortress'

Every Factory a Fortress
The French Labor Movement in the Age of Ford and Hitler
By Michael Torigian

French trade unions played a historical role in the 1930s quite unlike that of any other labor movement. Against a backdrop of social unrest, parliamentary crisis, and impending world war, industrial unionists in the great metal-fabricating plants of the Paris Region carried out a series of street mobilizations, factory occupations, and general strikes that were virtually unique in Western history.

Cover of 'Labor and Democracy in Namibia, 1971–1996'

Labor and Democracy in Namibia, 1971–1996
By Gretchen Bauer

In this compelling study of labor and nationalism during and after Namibia's struggle for liberation, Gretchen Bauer addresses the very difficult task of consolidating democracy in an independent Namibia. Labor and Democracy in Namibia, 1971-1996 argues that a vibrant and autonomous civil society is crucial to the consolidation of new democracies, and it identifies trade unions, in particular, as especially important organizations of civil society.

Cover of 'Willing Migrants'

Willing Migrants
Soninke Labor Diasporas, 1848–1960
By François Manchuelle

The first major study of the Soninke labor migration within Africa and to France, Willing Migrants is based upon critical analysis of French precolonial and colonial records and oral interviews with Soninke migrants.

Cover of 'Theory in the Practice of the Nicaraguan Revolution'

Theory in the Practice of the Nicaraguan Revolution
By Bruce E. Wright

Even in the period following the electoral defeat of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in 1990, the revolution of 1979 continues to have a profound effect on the political economy of Nicaragua.

Cover of 'Colonialism in the Congo Basin, 1880–1940'

Colonialism in the Congo Basin, 1880–1940
By Samuel H. Nelson

This exceptional study of the Mongo people of the upper Congo River basin focuses on the evolution of Mongo work patterns from the period of the late nineteenth century to 1940, the high-water mark of the colonial period. It brings new evidence from oral histories, anthropological research, and archival records to build on or to correct colonial ethnographic accounts.