HIST 365: The Worker and American Life

This course covers the familiar ground of a US history survey course from the perspective of workers and work. We will look at how workers have shaped American history from colonial times to the present, and how work itself has changed over that time. We will ask questions such as:

  • What was the role of workers in:
    • building the first European settlements in this country?
    • fighting the Revolutionary War?
    • starting the Civil War and ending it?
  • What happened to work itself as Americans:
    • experienced industrialization?
    • endured the Great Depression?
    • began to see themselves as part of a world power?
  • How can this history help us to understand the new global economy?

To carry out this course of inquiry, we will study several types of sources. We will examine our own experiences with work, and we will read primary documents, autobiographies, folklore, popular literature, and scholarly attempts to come to grips with these issues.

After taking this course, students should have a greater understanding of the history of work and the role of workers in American history.

Required Texts:

  • Babson, The Unfinished Struggle: Turning Points in American Labor, 1877-Present (1999)
  • Woloch, Muller V. Oregon: A Brief History with Documents (1996)

View a sample course syllabus.

Contact the Friday Center at CCO@unc.edu with any questions or for more information.

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