General introduction: When it emerged in the 19th century in Europe and North America, labor history study tended to combine two features together, which are the so-called “methodological nationalism” and “Euro-centralism”. This course will move beyond these two general limitations within traditional labor history study, and provide a global labor history in a more “entangled” and “inclusive” way, through reading literatures from diverse regions, epochs and disciplines. We will achieve this purpose through several ways. First, this course will emphasize the interconnections within different parts of the world that involve not just linkage but also hegemony, hierarchy, resistance, and compromises. Secondly, this course will introduce a broader conceptualization of the working class beyond “free” wage labor in Marxist sense. Thirdly, it will bring the labor history of the non-western countries as well as Western countries into the global labor history study. Lastly, it will provide a more “expanding” analytic tool to study labor. We will investigate how race, ethnicity, gender, memory, migration, violence, family, marriage, kinship have penetrated into the labor history, and have affected people’s working and living experiences within and beyond the shop floor; we will also show how workers take various of forms of resistance beyond “traditional” forms such as strike, trade union activities, or party-political actions. Even though the global labor history could be dated far back to an earlier time, this course will focus on the historical period from the roughly eighteenth century to the contemporary era, spanning from the historical themes of industrialization/colonialism/imperialism, to post-colonialism, socialism/post-socialism, and globalization. We will use both written and visual materials in the class.
- Teacher: Ju Li