OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

Dorothy Sue Cobble

Portrait of Dorothy Sue Cobble

A distinguished professor of history and labor studies at Rutgers University, Dorothy Sue Cobble specializes in twentieth-century politics and social movements in the United States and globally. Her books include Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women's Movements (2014); The Other Women's Movement: Workplace Justice and Social Rights in Modern America (2004), winner of the Philip Taft Labor History Book Prize; Sex of Class: Women Transforming American Labor (2007); and Dishing It Out: Waitresses and Their Unions in the Twentieth Century (1991). She has received fellowships from the American Council for Learned Societies, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University, and other sources. She won the Sol Stetin Award for Career Achievement in Labor History from the Sidney Hillman Foundation in 2010. In 2016, she held the Swedish Research Council's Kerstin Hesselgren Professorship at Stockholm University. In 2017, Stockholm University awarded her an Honorary Doctorate in Social Science. Her most recent book, For the Many: American Feminists and the Global Fight for Democratic Equality, is due out spring 2021. Currently, she is writing on U.S. worker movements for egalitarian democracy and how labor's public intellectuals of the past can help us reimagine a fairer, more inclusive America.

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

A politics for the many, not the few, predominated among American women over much of the twentieth century. In 1946, American historian Richard Hofstadter penned his classic text, The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It. This lecture tells a different story -- a story of how women made American politics and how women shifted America and the world toward equality and social democracy.
In this talk Cobble traces the surprising persistence of the myth of working-class conservatism among scholars and public intellectuals. She explores the origins of the myth and the political and cultural effects of its popularity. Drawing on voting patterns and other evidence, Cobble refutes the prevalent stereotypes about workers and makes a case for the progressive political sensibilities of America's working classes.