My research and teaching interests focus on understanding the political economy of social conflict. I focus on labor movements and conflict within the context of U.S. capitalist development spatially, socially and economically during the late nineteenth and twentieth century. My new work follows the story that made for violent conflict in Illinois and also helped to make it the strongest unionized state in the nation, tentatively entitled The Illinois Mine Wars, 1860-1930. It covers the epic conflicts that helped to define Illinois as one of the strongest labor states in the nation. I am also working on a new biography of Mother Jones, the renowned labor activist and agitator of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. I have always connected my research to public history projects, including tours, electronic media, oral history and video production..
- Against Labor: How U.S. Employers Organized to Defeat Union Activism. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2017. With Chad Pearson. Working Class in American History Series
- Radical Unionism in the Midwest, 1900-1950. Working Class in American History Series. Urbana: University of Illinois Press 2006.
- Winner of the 2007 Wentworth Prize in U.S. History
Public History Projects
- Mother Jones: America’s Most Dangerous Woman (2007).
- Mother Jones Heritage Project (including walking, hiking and biking tours, multiple museum exhibits and markers, and stories at www.motherjonesmuseum.org
- Fannie Sellins Exhibit at St. Louis Library
- St. Louis Labor History Tour
- I manage the largest website on labor history in the U.S
- Editor, LaborOnline, the blog for the journal Labor: Studies in Working Class History and the Labor and Working Class History Association
- "Mother Jones: A Global History of Struggle and Remembrance: From Cork, Ireland to Illinois." Illinois Heritage May 2013.
- "Labor’s Community-Based Economic and Environmental Planning, and Cold War Politics: The UE’s St. Louis District, st. 1941-1946." In Shelton Stromquist, ed. Labor's Cold War: Local Politics in a Global Context. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008.
- "Learning From and Rethinking the Staley Struggle of the 1990s," WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society 13 (1) March 2010, 153-168.
- "Union Myths versus Union Democracy," Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, Spring 2012 9(2).
I have taught numerous courses in U.S. history, including labor history, U.S. capitalism and its critics, social protest movements, radicalism, political repression and the U.S. survey.
20th Century U.S., Labor
Ph.D., Washington University, St. Louis, 1997
Monday, 5-6 p.m. and by appointment