First-Gen, Working-Class on Campus

Join us for a free talk, “First-Gen & Working-Class in Higher-Ed” with WCSA experts on mentoring & program building by and for first-gen, working-class learners! When? Monday, Oct 2, 2023 12:30-1:30pm PST. Register in advance:

Image of soaring flamingos, Swetha Shankar, Unsplash.

Talk with Dr. Louise Powell and Working-Class Creatives

Please join us for a free 1-hour Zoom talk with Dr. Louise Powell, director of Counter-Culture, and other working-class creatives on Monday morning, 10-11, Pacific time, 6/20.

Read more about this happening on the EventBrite and register to participate.

Get inspired by the artistry of Counter-Culture to create, collaborate, and congregate! Then sashay into the WCSA Conference beginning later in the day.

Hope to see you!

*Featured photo, Martin de Arriba, Unsplash.

Alice Whittenburg – The Journal of Working-Class Studies – December 2021

This quote from Alice Whittenburg appeared in her article ‘A Dozen Images Made in or Near Youngstown, Ohio, That Show Why People Need Both Jobs and Fish’ in the December 2021 issue of the Journal of Working-Class Studies.

The articles states that cultural geographers have shown that depictions of a landscape contribute to its meaning(s). Linkon & Russo (2002) have examined the landscape of Youngstown through the lens of images and stories. In this article Whittenburg focuses more specific on the landscape of the Mahoning River examining a dozen images created in or near Youngstown since the early twentieth century. Whittenburg explores how the images in the piece help to clarify the way the conflict between economy and ecology has played out in the Mahoning Valley.

You can read the full article here. Co-edited by Sarah Attfield and Liz Giuffre (University of Technology Sydney), the journal operates as an independent, adjudicated, open-access, scholarly publication alongside WCSA. For more information or to view the journal click here.

Fazio Wins University of North Carolina’s System Award for Teaching Excellence.

Past Working-Class Studies Association President, and Professor of English at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, Michele Fazio has won the University of North Carolina’s System Award for Teaching Excellence.fazio

The award is the highest post-secondary award in the state of North Carolina. Fazio will be formally honored and will serve as UNC-Pembroke’s winter commencement speaker.

Congratulations Michele!

WCSA Members Writing on Workers and the Working Class in the COVID-19 Economy

Amidst the ongoing spread of COVID-19 and the dramatic changes in work, Working-Class Studies Association members have been writing about circumstances for workers and the working class.

At the Working-Class Perspectives Blog, Sherry Linkon wrote about how the move to online instruction is highlighting class disparities in higher education. Most recently, Sarah Attfield wrote about how working-class people “hold society together.” And a week earlier, Kathy Newman wrote about class, capitalism, and coronavirus at Disney’s newest attraction.

At the Everyday Sociology Blog, Colby King wrote about how the working class and service industry workers are on the front lines of the COVID-19 economy. 

How are you seeing the pandemic changing circumstances for workers and the working class? If you’ve got writing out about how the pandemic is reshaping work and life for the working class, let us know. Share links to your writing at @wcstudies on Twitter, or at and we will share it here.

2020 Conference Plenary Address: Matt Brim

The 2020 WCSA Conference Re-Placing Class: Community, Politics, and Labor in a Changing World, being held at Youngstown State University May 20-23, 2020 is pleased to welcome Matt Brim for a public keynote lecture.

Matt brim

Matt Brim is Associate Professor of Queer Studies at the College of Staten Island, an open admissions college in the City University of New York. His forthcoming book, Poor Queer Studies: Confronting Elitism in the University, reorients the field of queer studies away from prestigious, exclusionary institutions of higher education and toward working-class schools, students, theories, and pedagogies. By exploring underclass queer ideas and laying bare the structural and disciplinary mechanisms of inequality that suppress them, Poor Queer Studies advances a queer-class knowledge project committed to anti-elitist and anti-racist education. Brim’s other publications include the coedited collection Imagining Queer Methods, the black queer studies monograph James Baldwin and the Queer Imagination, and an open access online guide for teaching the HIV/AIDS activist documentary film United in Anger: A History of ACT UP. Brim is a former general editor of WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly and is currently an associate editor for the open access journal James Baldwin Review.

Call for Papers for WCSA’s 2020 Conference at Youngstown State University

We are excited to announce the WCSA2020CFP with dates for the 2020 Working-Class Studies Association Conference to be held at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH May 20-23, 2020.

Re-Placing Class: Community, Politics, Work, and Labor in a Changing World

Twenty-five years ago, the academic discipline of Working-Class Studies in the US was born in Youngstown, Ohio, as a group of scholars, activists, artists, workers, and practitioners converged around common goals of celebrating the working class in its diversity and complexity, and to advocate for a politics of social justice and equity. This year the Working-Class Studies Association returns to the place the discipline began for the 2020 conference at Youngstown State University, at a time of rising social tribalism, class conflict, and politically calculated populisms. As WCSA re-convenes in a place synonymous with working-class life, we hope to explore the following:

How can Working-Class Studies offer models for understanding the ways in which myriad local and global working classes intersect, cooperate, compete or are co-opted by other interests? What is the place of class as an instrument of either division or unification, both historically and now?  How do global, national, and local politics and policies exploit, ignore, or alternately, empower and enable workers? What potentials exist for solidarity amongst and within migrant, global, regional and local working classes?  How is diversity within the working class essentialized, fragmented, or, alternately, harnessed and maximized for social and political agendas? How can we reposition, or “re-Place” class in our current global politics as a site for effective action?

Further, what is the role of “Place” as geographical, social, psychic, and economic formation? How does “Place” defined by social, political and economic attributes, define community, which is underpinned by identity, ethnicity, status and power relationships? How does “Place” in these broad definitions provoke ways of thinking about the locations, spaces and places of the working class and Working-Class studies today?

We welcome proposals from multiple disciplines and perspectives: pedagogical, theoretical, creative, and professional. Themes and topics for papers, panels and presentations might include—but are not limited to:

  • Populisms, Diasporas, and Nationalisms
  • Intersectionality
  • Race, Capitalism, and Empire
  • Environmental Justice
  • Critical Race Studies
  • Policies and Politics
  • De-Industrialization
  • Global, Regional or Migrant Working Classes
  • Urban/Rural Working-Class life
  • The Cultural Politics of Class
  • Place and/or displacement of working-class communities
  • Labor now—Locally, Regionally and/or Globally
  • Class, Education, and Equity
  • Resilience, Resistance, and “Class Warfare”

The CWCS at Youngstown State welcomes proposals from academics and practitioners across disciplines, community activists and organizers, and public scholars. Proposal abstracts for papers, creative works/exhibitions, and roundtables of no more approximately 350 words are due by Feb.20, 2020.  Please email submissions to


Talk and Workshop on Supporting the Working-Class at the People’s Universities at UNC-Pembroke

Working-Class Studies Association Secretary Colby King will be giving a talk and a workshop on supporting the working class at the people’s universities this week at UNC-Pembroke. An Assistant Professor of Sociology at USC-Upstate, King will be discussing how state comprehensive universities (SCUs) host a large proportion of students, as well as faculty and staff, from working class backgrounds. He will describe Class Beyond the Classroom, a program he founded at Bridgewater State University with colleagues including fellow WCSA member Sean McPherson which worked to support students, faculty, and staff from these backgrounds through story-sharing events and other campus activities. Recognizing the contexts for SCUs today and their pivotal role in supporting working class college students, the events will highlight what working class college students, faculty, and staff, who also disproportionately represent a wide array of marginalized identities on campus, contribute to their institutions.

Call for Member News!

Are you a member of the Working-Class Studies Association who has news to share? Maybe you’ve given a talk recently, presented at a conference, or got a new publication out? Maybe you’re starting a new role at your school, or have moved to a new job?

If you’re a member of WCSA and you’ve got news to share, we want to know about it! Please send any news you have to with “Member News” in the subject, and we will prepare announcements to be posted here on our website. member_news_28ga29

WCSA 2019 Conference Update

The final program for the WCSA 2019 conference, “Beyond the Heartlands,” at the University of Kent is now available.  The conference website contains information on registration, conference fringe, and membership.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @wcstudies and @DIndustrialKent