Working Knowledge (my ongoing research project) is a history of popular education in the U.S. during the early 20th century. At the time, many working people left school to enter the workforce as young adults with basic literacy skills. They found their way to education through reading, conversation, and life experience. Drawing on autobiographies, artifacts of visual culture, and the records of worker education programs, the project traces changes in self-education practices, the print culture of radicalism, and the symbolic role of the working class mind in debates about democratic society. From reading groups and urban open forums to the iconography of robot revolution, the project weaves together an intellectual history of American labor movement and a cultural history of knowledge about working people.
Check out some of my preliminary work:
“Stirring the Pot and Adding Some Spice: Workers Education at the University of California, 1921-1962,” Working Paper.
“Unschooled but Not Uneducated: Print, Public Speaking, and the Networks of Informal Working-Class Education, 1900-1940,” pp. 103-125 in Adam R. Nelson and John L. Rudolph, eds., Education and the Culture of Print in Modern America (University of Wisconsin Press, 2010). Read it Here.