WORKING-CLASS NEW YORK REVISITED:
THE PAST AND FUTURE OF STRUGGLES FOR PROGRESSIVE CHANGE
Friday, April 23, 2021 * via Live Stream
Program is scheduled in U.S. Eastern Time
During the two decades since its publication, Joshua B. Freeman’s Working-Class New York: Life and Labor Since World War II has had a major influence on the efforts of labor and urban historians and New York activists to reckon with the achievements and failures of working-class people in shaping the city. WORKING-CLASS NEW YORK REVISITED: THE PAST AND FUTURE OF STRUGGLES FOR PROGRESSIVE CHANGE will bring together scholars, activists, and political leaders to reconsider the book’s themes, explore subsequent scholarship on New York working-class movements, and present visions for progressive urban change.
Opening * 9:30am – 10:15am
Chair: Stephanie Luce, Graduate Center and School of Labor and Urban Studies, City University of New York
Jack Metzgar, Emeritus Professor of Humanities, Roosevelt University
Samir Sonti, School of Labor and Urban Studies, City University of New York
This opening session will consider the contributions of Working-Class New York and suggest the challenges and possibilities for progressive urban change.
New York Labor Struggles in the Post-WW II era * 10:15am – 12:00pm
Chair/commentator: Kimberly Phillips-Fein, Professor of History, New York University
Andy Battle, Bard Early College High School
Will Jones, Professor of History, University of Minnesota
Marc Kagan, Graduate Center, City University of New York
Premilla Nadasen, Professor of History, Barnard College, Columbia University
Since the publication of Working-Class New York, there has been a wealth of studies of labor struggles in New York City in the post-World War II era. This panel will present some of the best recent work, examining factory move-outs and the efforts of public employees, transit worker dissidents, and domestic workers to build strong organizations and improve their jobs.
African American and Puerto Rican Movements in Postwar New York * 12:45pm – 2:30pm
Chair/commentator: Martha Biondi, Professor of African American Studies, Northwestern University
Aldo Lauria-Santiago, Professor, Department of Latino & Caribbean Studies, Rutgers University
Johanna Fernández, Associate Professor of History, Baruch College, City University of New York
LaShawn D. Harris, Associate Professor of History, Michigan State University
Brian Purnell, Geoffrey Canada Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History, Bowdoin College
Leading scholars of African American and Puerto Rican history will discuss their work on postwar struggles in New York City, including Puerto Rican labor activism, the Young Lords, the fight against police brutality, and the Black freedom movement.
Roundtable: Social Democracy in New York and the Nation * 2:45pm – 4:30pm
Moderator: Joel Suarez, School of Labor and Urban Studies, City University of New York
Steve Fraser, Independent Scholar
Nelson Lichtenstein, Research Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
Touré Reed, Professor of History, Illinois State University
Ruth Milkman, Graduate Center and School of Labor and Urban Studies, City University of New York
Roundtable participants will consider the utility of social democracy as a way of understanding New York and the country in the postwar era, and will discuss its past and future strengths and limitations as an idea and a program.
Toward a Progressive Urbanism * 4:45pm – 6:30pm
Chair/commentator: Penny Lewis, School of Labor and Urban Studies, City University of New York
Frances Fox Piven, Professor Emeritus, Graduate Center, City University of New York
Nikil Saval, Pennsylvania State Senator
Kafui Attoh, School of Labor and Urban Studies, City University of New York
Marta Gutman, Professor, Graduate Center and Spitzer School of Architecture, CCNY, City University of New York
In recent years, cities have been a center for progressive action in the United States. Coming from a variety of disciplines and positions, panelists will present their visions for a progressive urbanism, and how to get there.
Reflections * 6:30pm – 7:15pm
Chair: Stephen Brier, Graduate Center and School of Labor and Urban Studies, City University of New York
Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University
Joshua B. Freeman, Professor Emeritus, Queens College, Graduate Center, and School of Labor and Urban Studies, City University of New York
This concluding session will reflect on the significance of Working-Class New York and the career of Joshua B. Freeman, whose retirement this conference marks.