Alice Kessler-Harris: Becoming a Feminist, Becoming a Labor HistorianHistorians in the News
tags: feminism, interviews, labor history, womens history, Women historians, feminist history
Lara Vapnek is Professor of History at St. John's University. Her books include Elizabeth Gurley Flynn: Modern American Revolutionary, and Breadwinners: Working Women and Economic Independence, 1865-1920.
For the past forty years, Alice Kessler-Harris has been on the vanguard of labor history and of women’s and gender history. Last summer, I joined Tony Michels and Annie Polland in a wide-ranging conversation with Kessler-Harris about her life and work. She explained how growing up in a family of Hungarian-Jewish refugees in Wales shaped her identity and her values. We discussed her path to becoming a historian, and we learned how her participation in the women’s movement gave her a new vantage point on to labor history. In the course of our conversation, Kessler-Harris articulated some of the ideals that she brings to her teaching, her scholarship, and to mentoring a diverse group of students and making us all feel like we are part of her community.
The following excerpts are adapted from Tony Michels, Lara Vapnek, and Annie Polland, “An Interview with Alice Kessler-Harris,” Jewish Social Studies 24, no. 2 (2019): 82-105.
In this section of the interview, Kessler-Harris describes discovering the anarchist Emma Goldman while researching her dissertation on Jewish workers. Kessler-Harris explains how she began to read sources differently due to her participation in the women’s movement and she describes how the labor history community responded to her early scholarship. She mentions Anzia Yezierska, author of the 1925 novel, Bread Givers, which Kessler-Harris would become instrumental in republishing.
comments powered by Disqus
- A girl named Greta and the seriously sexist history of Time’s Person of the Year
- Poll: Majority of Democrats think Obama was better president than Washington
- Civil War Soldiers Used Hair Dye to Make Themselves Look Better in Pictures, Archaeologists Discover
- Monumental statue of black man defies Confederate monuments
- From Consensus To Deadlock: Is Impeachment Still A Check On Presidents?
- Black Scholars Respond to Dr. Lorgia García Peña Tenure Denial at Harvard
- Historians Kirsten Weld and Erik Baker Interviewed About Harvard Graduate Worker Strike in Chronicle of Higher Education
- Kate Shaw: Andrew Johnson Was Impeached for Being a Racist Demagogue
- Bullets That Killed John F. Kennedy Immortalized as Digital Replicas by Smithsonian
- 37 books for history lovers: 11 Historians Select Their Favorite Books of 2019