My research and teaching interests focus on understanding the political economy of social conflict. I focus on labor issues and conflict within the context of U.S. capitalist development spatially, socially and economically during the late nineteenth and twentieth century. Radical Unionism in the Midwest, 1900-1950 (2006) explored labor radicalism as well as political repression of an important cohort of businessmen determined to make the Midwest a location of capitalist accumulation. I am finishing a monograph, Labor Rights and Freedom Struggles, 1890-1930 as well as a documentary on the Illinois mine wars. Also on the horizon for me is 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. I manage the largest website on labor history in the U.S. and one on Mother Jones.
- Against Labor: How U.S. Employers Organized to Defeat Union Activism. Rosemary Feurer and Chad Pearson, eds. University of Illinois Press, 2017.
- Radical Unionism in the Midwest, 1900-1950. Working Class in American History Series, University of Illinois Press 2006. Winner of the Wentworth Prize in U.S. History, 2007.
- Mother Jones: A Global History of Struggle and Remembrance: From Cork, Ireland to Illinois Illinois Heritage May 2013.
- Mother Jones: America’s Most Dangerous Woman (2007) Winner of Geneva Film Festival prize, 2007.
- “Labor’s Community-Based Economic and Environmental Planning, and Cold War Politics: The UE’s St. Louis District, 1941-1946,” in Shelton Stromquist, ed. Labor and the Cold War: Local Politics in a Global Context (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, Social Protest Movements, Radicalism, Political Repression, and the U.S. Survey.
See my webpage for more information.
Ph.D., Washington University, St. Louis, 1997
20th Century U.S., Labor