A distinguished professor of history and labor studies emerita at Rutgers University, Dorothy Sue Cobble specializes in twentieth-century politics and social movements. She is the author of multiple prize-winning books and articles. Her most recent book, For the Many: American Feminists and the Global Fight for Democratic Equality (Princeton, 2021), is a history of the twentieth-century feminists who fought for the rights of women, workers, and the poor in the United States and abroad. She is the recipient of fellowships from, among others, the American Council for Learned Societies, Russell Sage Foundation, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Charles Warren Center at Harvard University. She won the Sol Stetin Award for Career Achievement in Labor History from the Sidney Hillman Foundation in 2010. She held the 2016 Swedish Research Council's Kerstin Hesselgren Professorship at Stockholm University, and in 2017, Stockholm University awarded her an Honorary Doctorate in Social Science. Currently, she is writing on US worker movements for egalitarian democracy and how labor intellectuals of the past can help us reimagine a fairer, more inclusive America.
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 present among America's working classes.