Changing Work, Changing Workforce
Overview:
The working group explores the relations between the changing economy, changing meanings of work, and the changing labor force by addressing a central animating question: how does WHO does the work affect the conceptions of work itself? The group examines the topic by focusing on a particular type of work: “immigrant work” and a particular locus of labor: immigrant workers in California. The working group explores immigrant work and workers across a broad range of historical periods in California as well as from multiple disciplinary perspectives and methodologies. Most generally, the working group addresses the theme of the humanities and the changing conceptions of work by highlighting the roles work and the workplace play in the quest for human dignity.

US-IMMIGRATION-FARMWORKERSThe Year in Review
The Working Group held a workshop in October at UCSC on the theme of immigrant labor. They are also developing a website and have contributed a post—Highlights from Immigrants and Working Group—to the Humanities Forum blog.

Principal Investigator:

Steven McKay, Associate Professor of Sociology, UC Santa Cruz; Director of the UC Santa Cruz Center for Labor Studies

Steven McKay is an Associate Professor of Sociology at UC Santa Cruz and the Director of the UC Santa Cruz Center for Labor Studies. His research interests include labor and labor markets, globalization and the high-tech sector, migration, race, gender, and Southeast Asia. He is author of Satanic Mills or Silicon Islands: The Politics of High Tech Production in the Philippines (2006) and is currently working on an ethnographic research project on migrant merchant seafarers from the Philippines exploring issues of racial formation and masculinity in global labor markets.

Participants:

Eva Bertram, Associate Professor of Politics, UC Santa Cruz

Eva Bertram is Associate Professor of Politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prof. Bertram studies American political development and public policy; areas of focus include social policy and the welfare state, and the changing character of work and labor markets in the United States. Prof. Bertram’s most recent book project examines the political and institutional sources of the transformation in public assistance policy, from the entitlement-based systems of the New Deal era to the contemporary work-conditioned safety net. Building the Workfare State: The New Politics of Public Assistance traces this shift to a split and struggle within the Democratic party over the means and ends of federal income assistance for poor families, and considers the impact of the rise of work-based social policies in an economy that provides diminishing job security and stability.

David Brundage, Professor of History, UC Santa Cruz

David Brundage is Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author, most recently, of Irish Nationalists in America: The Politics of Exile, 1798-1998. His research interests include U.S. immigration and working-class history, with a particular focus on the Irish experience in America; ethnicity and race in U.S. history, including the history of movements for racial justice; and Irish history and politics.

Catherine Ceniza Choy, Professor and Department Chair, Ethnic Studies and Asian American Studies, UC Berkeley

Catherine Ceniza Choy is Professor and Department Chair of Ethnic Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her major research interests focus on the U.S. global presence in Asian countries, Asian migrations to the United States, and the impact of trans-Pacific migration on American and Asian societies. Prof. Choy’s first book, Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History, explored how and why the Philippines became the leading exporter of professional nurses to the United States. Her second book, Global Families: A History of Asian International Adoption in America, unearths the little-known historical origins of Asian international adoption in the United States beginning with the post-World War II presence of the U.S. military in Asia. She is currently working on three book projects that feature biographies of Filipino American women; cultural production about Asian international adoption; and the writing of ethnic studies scholar and historian Ronald Takaki.

Dana Frank, Professor of History, UC Santa Cruz

Dana Frank is Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prof. Frank is the author of a number of publications including Bananeras: Women Transforming the Banana Unions of Latin America. Her research interests include Modern Honduran history and contemporary Honduras; U.S. policy in Latin America; U.S. social history, labor history, and women’s history; banana workers in Latin America; U.S. Policy and Post-Coup Honduras; and the AFL-CIO’s Cold War in Honduras, 1954-1979.

Gilbert G. Gonzalez, Professor Emeritus, Chicano/Latino Studies, UC Irvine

Gilbert G. Gonzales is Professor Emeritus of Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine. His research and publications in Chicano Latino Studies have examined education, migration and labor from a transnational perspective. His publications include Chicano Education in the Era of Segregation which reviews the means segregated schools used to produce Mexican children as a source of cheap labor, Mexican Consuls and Labor Organizing: Imperial Politics in the American Southwest, 1920-1940 which examines the union politics of the ethnic Mexican community buffeted by political factors in Mexico and the United States, and the co-authored volume A Century of Chicano History: Empire, Nations and Migration which examines the roots of Chicano history and the central role of the U.S. economic Empire in creating the conditions leading to migration for over a century.

Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Professor of Ethnic Studies and Asian American Studies, UC Berkeley

Evelyn Nakano Glenn is Professor of Ethnic Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Having recently completed a book on one of my long time concerns, racialized and gendered care labor,  Prof. Glenn is taking up two new projects, one on how immigrant activists are challenging dominant conceptions of citizenship and belonging  and another on theorizing and studying race/gender/class intersectionality. Her research interests include comparative historical studies of race, gender and class and their intersections in relation to immigration, labor markets, and citizenship and uncovering the connections among social structure, cultural discourse, and everyday experience.

L.S. Kim, Associate Professor, Film and Digital Media, UC Santa Cruz

L.S. Kim is Associate Professor of Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prof. Kim is currently finishing a book manuscript, Maid for Television: Race, Class, and Gender on the Small Screen, which is a historical study of comparative racial representation and a book about the representation of domestic labor on television, a medium that is itself a domestic medium. This book investigates the cultural significance of the racialized female domestic – the maid – through the figure’s representational and narrative function in American television from 1945 to the present.  The importance of looking at the figure of the maid is that she is a recurrent and patterned image of and occupation for women of color, simultaneously demonstrating and revealing the nexus of race, class, and gender hierarchies in American culture.  As such, the focus is on the analysis how racial discourse works to define race and to encourage the reification of social hierarchies through the figure of the racialized domestic. Studying the representation of the relationships between servants and their employers gives access to contradictory, and displaced discourses on social issues specific to different historical eras such as a post-war economy, Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, the Feminist Movement, immigration, and American citizenship.

Shannon Marie Gleeson, Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies, UC Santa Cruz

Shannon Marie Gleeson is Associate Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prof. Gleeson is the author of a number of publications including Conflicting Commitments: The Politics of Enforcing Immigrant Worker Rights in San Jose and Houston. Her research interests include migrant populations, the effects of documentation status, labor rights, civic engagement, inequality and stratification, political sociology, law and society, mixed methods, and comparative approaches.

Megan McNamara Abed, Sociology, UC Santa Cruz

Megan McNamara Abed is a doctoral candidate in Sociology at UC Santa Cruz. She holds an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology and an M.A. in Sociology. Her research interests include labor and labor movements, gender and work, masculinities, justice movements in Occupied Palestine, and feminist research methods. Her dissertation project centers on the politics of gender among paramedics at the intersection of emergency work and care work. In addition to her affiliation with UCSC, Megan teaches part-time on the faculty of the Service Learning program at CSU Monterey Bay. She has been a licensed paramedic since 2001 and is a founding organizer of United EMS Workers/AFSCME Local 4911, currently the fastest-growing Emergency Medical Services union in the United States.

Mario Sifuentez, Assistant Professor of History, UC Merced

Mario Sifuentez is an Assistant Professor of History at UC Merced. His research interests include immigration, farm worker history, labor history, food studies and the absence of workers in food studies. He is currently working on his manuscript entitled By Forest or By Fields: Organizing Immigrant Labor in the Pacific Northwest and is also creating the Central Valley Oral History Project at UC Merced.