Professor Freeman received a B.A. from Harvard University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Rutgers University. He previously taught at Columbia University and the College at Old Westbury, SUNY. He has written extensively about the history of labor, modern America, and New York City. His books include Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World; Working-Class New York: Life and Labor since World War II; American Empire: The Rise of a Global Power, the Democratic Revolution at Home; In Transit: The Transport Workers Union in New York City, 1933-1966. He is the co-editor (with Steve Fraser) of Audacious Democracy: Labor, Intellectuals, and the Social Renewal of America. Dr. Freeman has appeared in several television documentaries, including the American Experience episode, “Blackout,” and Ric Burns’ New York. He has consulted for unions and for the New York City Central Labor Council on strategy and internal education.

 

Selected Publications

 

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  • M.A., Rutgers University, History, June 1976
  • Ph.D., Rutgers University, History, May 1983
  • Masters Program in History, City College of New York, September 1973-June 1974
  • A.B., Harvard University, June 1970

  • Advanced Research Collaborative Distinguished Fellow, Graduate Center of the City University of New York, 2014-15
  • John Commerford Labor Education Award, New York State Labor History Association, 2006
  • Queens College President’s Grant for Innovative Teaching Projects, 2000
  • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, 1996
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Fellowship for University Teachers, 1995
  • Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Award for Junior Faculty, Columbia University School of General Studies, 1989
  • Hibernian Research Award, Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, Notre Dame University, 1985
  • State Fellowship, Rutgers University, 1978-79

  • History of Labor
  • Modern America
  • New York City

  • BOOKS:
    • Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World, W.W. Norton, 2018
    • American Empire, 1945-2000: The Rise of a Global Power; the Democratic Revolution at Home, Viking, 2012, hardcover, e-book, and audio book editions; paperback, Penguin, 2013
    • Working-Class New York: Life and Labor since World War II, The New Press, 2000; paperback edition, 2001; winner, New York Society Library Book Prize for History
    • Audacious Democracy: Labor, Intellectuals, and the Social Renewal of America, co-editor with Steve Fraser, Houghton Mifflin, 1997 (co-wrote introduction; jointly solicited all contributions; edited half the contributions)
    • Who Built America? Working People and the Nation’s Economy, Politics, Culture, and Society Vol. II, coauthor with Nelson Lichtenstein, Stephen Brier, David Bensman, Susan Porter Benson, David Brundage, Bret Eynon, Bruce Levine, and Brian Palmer, Pantheon Books, 1992 (lead author; principal author 3 of 12 chapters — pp. 219-371)
    • In Transit: The Transport Workers Union in New York City,1933-1966, Oxford University Press, 1989; paperback edition, 1992; new edition, with epilogue, Temple University Press, 2001; winner, Philip Taft Labor History Book Award
  • BOOK CHAPTERS
    • “Lindsay and Labor,” in America’s Mayor: John V. Lindsay and the Reinvention of New York, edited by Sam Roberts, Columbia University Press and the Museum of the City of New York, 2010, pp. 118-131
    • “Seeing It Through: New York in the 1970s,” in New York 400, Running Press and the Museum of the City of New York, 2009, pp. 415-418
    • “Labor During the American Century: Work, Workers, and Unions Since 1945,” in A Companion to Post-1945 America, edited by Roy Rosenzweig and Jean-Christophe Agnew, Blackwell Publishers, 2002, pp. 192-210
    • “Catholics, Communists, and Republicans: Irish Workers and the Organization of the Transport Workers Union,” in Daniel Walkowitz and Michael Frisch, eds., Working-Class America: Essays on Labor, Community, and American Society, University of Illinois Press, 1983, pp. 256-283 (Reprinted in American Communism, edited by Harvey Klehr, Carlson Publishing, Inc.)

  • “Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World,” Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C., November 4, 2018
  • “Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World,” Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation, Waltham, Massachusetts, November 1, 2018
  • “Giant Factories and the Making of the Modern World,” London School of Economics, Ralph Miliband Programme Lecture, May 21, 2018
  • “New York 1968, City in Turmoil; What Changed and What Didn’t,” Fordham College at Lincoln Center, February 6, 2018
  • “Behemoth: The Factory and the Making of the Modern World,” Columbia University Seminar on Political Economy and Contemporary Social Issues, November 2, 2017
  • “Black Silent Majority: The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment,” a discussion with Michael Javen Fortner, School of Professional Studies, City University of New York, Dec. 2, 2015
  • “Founders Day Address,” Teamsters Local 237 Retiree Division, New York, June 5, 2015
  • “How Giant Factories Have Shaped Our World and Our Dreams and Nightmares of the Future, from 18th Century England to Modern China,” Hostos College, City University of New York, March 2, 2015
  • “American Empire: Big Themes in the History of the United States since World War II,” Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, March 28, 2013
  • “Social Activism: Labor Movements,” Museum of the City of New York, March 7, 2013
  • “American Empire,” 92nd Street Y – Tribeca, January 31, 2013
  • “The New York Experiment in Social Democracy: Labor, Liberalism and Healthcare in the Post-World War II Era,” Grand Rounds, Department of Pediatrics, Brooklyn Hospital Center, April 4, 2012
  • “Labor History in the United States: a status report and some questions,” Business and Labour History Group, University of Sydney, October 14, 2010
  • “Liberals, Conservatives, and Radicals in Catholic New York,” Museum of the City of New York, November 18, 2008
  • “Water and Work: A Discussion of the Brooklyn Waterfront,” New York City College of Technology, February 27, 2008
  • “Gutman’s Legacy: Writing the History of Postwar America,” Herbert Gutman Memorial Lecture, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, April 17, 2007
  • “Labor in New York City since World War II,” Coordinating Council of Cooperatives, Queens, New York, December 10, 2005
  • “What Difference Do Unions Make?,” The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, New York, N.Y., March 15, 2005
  • “The Jewish Contribution to the Labor Movement,” Suffolk Y Jewish Community Center, Commack, N.Y., February 18, 2005
  • “Educated, Employed and Uninsured: How the Shift in the Labor Force Will Change the Structure of the Social Safety Net,” Working Today Policy Luncheon, June 8, 2004
  • “New York City and the New Deal,” Graduate Center, City University of New York, November 22, 2002
  • “Struggle and United, Pride and Progress: Our Place in History,” Teamsters Local 237 Ninth Annual Shop Stewards Seminar, Atlantic City, New Jersey, June 11, 2002
  • “New York City 1945-9/11/2001 – And Beyond,” Gotham History Festival, Graduate Center, City University of New York, October 6, 2001
  • “Working-Class New York,” Museum of the City of New York, Distinguished Speakers Series, March 16, 2001
  • “The Rise and Fall of Social Democracy in New York City,” The Gotham Center, Graduate Center, City University of New York, June 6, 2000
  • “New York in the New Century: What the Past Tells Us about New York’s Economic, Social, and Political Future,” UJA-Federation of New York, Kitchen Cabinet Retreat, July 19, 1999
  • “DC 37, Our Story,” D.C. 37 AFSCME, New York, N.Y., May 20, 1999
  • “What Difference Does a Labor Movement Make? The New York Story,” University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Center for History and Social Change, April 30, 1999
  • “Building New York/Building for Labor: A Forum,” New York Labor History Association & the New York Council for the Humanities, Oct. 24, 1998
  • “Remarks,” Teamsters Local 237 Retiree Division, 19th Annual Founders Day, June 4, 1998
  • “The Pleasures and Perils of Writing the History of One’s Own Times,” Keynote address, Phi Alpha Theta induction ceremony, Queens College, May 6, 1998
  • “Fashion City,” New-York Historical Society, November 3, 1996
  • “The New AFL-CIO: How is it Doing?,” District Council 37, AFSCME, May 22, 1996
  • “The Fight Against Discrimination: African-Americans in New York Mass Transit,” New York Transit Museum, February 1993
  • “Labor and the New Deal,” University of Connecticut Continuing Education Program for High School Teachers, FDR Library and Museum, Hyde Park, N.Y., November 1992
  • “Labor and Politics,” Health and Hospital Workers Union 1199-New York, Political Action Training Weekend, Glen Cove, N.Y., June 1992
  • “What’s in Store for Labor in the 90s?,” Locals 1930 and 1321, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, New York, N.Y., May 1992
  • “New York City as Paradigm: Immigration and Labor,” Center for American Culture Studies, Columbia University, March 1992
  • Comments on “Union Maids” and “With Babies and Banners,” The Film Society of Lincoln Center, Walter Reade Theater, New York, N.Y., February 1992
  • “What’s Happened to American Labor?,” Dean’s Day Lecture, Columbia College, Columbia University, April 1990
  • “‘Did you see the light?’: The Unionization of the New York City Transit System,” New York Transit Museum, April 1989
  • “The Transport Workers Union in New York City, 1934-1966,” Columbia University Seminar on the City, January 1989
  • “The Transport Workers Union, 1934-1966,” Center for Labor-Management Studies, City University of New York, December 1988
  • “Labor and Changes in Work during the 1920s,” Herbert G. Gutman Memorial Forum Series, Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University, March 1986
  • “The Left and the Labor Movement during World War II,” Brecht Forum, New York, N.Y., May 1985

  • UNDERGRADUATE COURSES (partial list):
    • Homefront: The Impact of War on U.S. Society
    • American Labor during the Twentieth Century
    • S. Labor History
    • Fordism: Mass Production and the Mass Society in the 1920s
    • Industrial Unionism in the United States, 1930-1955
    • Labor and Urban Affairs
    • American History, 1865 to the Present
    • The United Since 1945
    • Learning and Teaching U.S. History since the Civil War [linked to Social Studies methods class]
    • Communism and Anticommunism in American Life
    • The United States during the 1960s
    • Senior Seminar in United States History
    • Research Seminar: The United States since 1945
  • GRADUATE COURSES – M.A. AND PH.D. (partial list):
    • History of U.S. Labor and Capitalism
    • American Labor History
    • Comparative Labor History (co-taught)
    • The United States since 1945
    • Politics and Society since 1940
    • Colloquium on the United States from the New Deal through the 1960s
    • Research Seminar in U.S. Social History
    • First-Year Research Seminar in United States History
    • Advanced Research Seminar: United States History
    • Advanced Dissertation Seminar

  • External Program Review: SUNY Old Westbury, Labor Studies Program; SUNY Old Westbury, American Studies Program
  • Prize Committee, Sol Stetin Labor History Award, The Hillman Foundation, 2010-14
  • Organization of American Historians, Distinguished Lecturer, 2002-05
  • Participating Historian, “American Journey: From Staff Development to Student Achievement in the Study of American History,” Gotham Fellows Program (Teaching American History grant), 2005
  • Chief Instructor, Summer Institute on 20th Century History, Teaching American History Grant, Queens College, New-York Historical Society, and New York City Board of Education, 2002
  • Organization of American Historians, Merrill Travel Grant Committee, 2002
  • New York Society Library, Book Prize Committee, 2001-02
  • Philip Taft Labor History Award Committee, 1992-96
  • Advisor, “Remembering World War II” project, Council of Senior Centers and Services of New York City, 1995-96
  • Member, Executive Board, New York State Labor History Association, 1985-86, 1990-95
  • Senior Research Associate, Center for Labor-Management Studies, City University of New York, 1990-92
  • Project Historian, “Ordinary Lives, Ordinary People: Cooperative Documentation and Interpretative Strategies for 20th Century New York City,” Robert Wagner Labor Archives, New York University
  • Instructor, “American Labor History,” a course for leaders of Health and Hospital Workers Union 1199, New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, 1991
  • Member, Advisory Board, NHPRC-sponsored film-to-video transfer project, Robert Wagner Labor Archives, New York University
  • Referee: Cambridge University Press, Columbia University Press, Cornell University Press, University of Illinois Press, MIT Press, University of North Carolina Press, Oxford University Press, University of Pittsburgh Press, Rutgers University Press, SUNY Press, Temple University Press, International Labor and Working-Class History, Journal of American History, Labor, Labor History, Radical History Review, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Journal of Policy History, Political Science Quarterly, Political Power and Social Theory
  • Member, Organization of American Historians, Society of American Historians, Labor and Working-Class History Association, and New York State Labor History Association

Joshua Freeman