Labor Studies, City University of New York
“From Hardhats v. Hippies to Occupying Wall Street: Class and Social Protest in the U.S.”
June 3 – 12:30-2pm, College 8 Room 301
Penny Lewis will draw on her research of the Vietnam period and new research on Occupy to discuss class cultures and class representation in social protest in both eras. In her book, Hardhats Hippies and Hawks: The Vietnam Antiwar Movement as Myth and Memory, Lewis argues that our memory of class polarization during the Vietnam era obscures the diverse opposition to the war that existed at the time, and the multiple political orientations of workers in the US during the period. Our memory of “working class conservatism” in particular has helped delimit movement formation as well as our imagination of what’s possible in the present. Occupy offers both hopeful new directions for cross-class coalitions, as well as cautionary evidence that such coalitions continue to face obstacles in how they are created, recognized, and sustained.
Penny Lewis is Assistant Professor of Labor Studies at the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education at the City University of New York [CUNY]. She received her B.A. at Brown University and holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center. Her first book, Hardhats, Hippies, and Hawks: The Vietnam Antiwar Movement as Myth and Memory, will be published by Cornell University Press in spring 2013. Her current research continues to look at the social class dynamics of social movements. She has worked as a union organizer and has been active in various labor and community organizations, including Jobs with Justice. She serves as a university-wide officer for the Professional Staff Congress, the union that represents CUNY’s faculty and staff.