Women, Work, and Welfare: A History of Gender and Precarious Labor

Lecture Description

A historical discussion of women’s precarious labor in the U.S., spotlighting gendered processes of incorporation into urban wage work, from the mid-19th century to the era of Uber and TaskRabbit. Tracing how urban labor markets become gendered and racialized at different historical moments, I follow the role of the state; rehabilitative tropes of work; gendered cultural scripts; and the transformations of the employment relationship as these phenomenon structure precarity over time.
Precarity involves not only a struggle over sufficient income, reliable income, but also time: the undulation between over work and not enough work. With the increasing instability of work time, what are the social and political consequences? What does it mean for political culture—democratic practice—when there is a lack of clear boundaries over work? Unending hours and not enough hours undermine our ability to have a feminist restructuring of family life and undermine democratic culture. How then will histories of gendered work help us think anew about democratic possibilities?


Gender, Masculinity, Femininity Labor and Working Class

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