Called "one of our most commanding interpreters of recent American experience" by The Nation, Jefferson Cowie is the James G. Stahlman Professor at Vanderbilt University. His forthcoming book, Freedom's Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power (Basic, 2022), an exploration of "white freedom" and American anti-statism, will be released in the fall. He is the author of The Great Exception: The New Deal and the Limits of American Politics (2016); Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class (2010), winner of several "best book" awards, including the Francis Parkman Prize and the OAH Merle Curti Awards; and Capital Moves: RCA's Seventy Year Quest for Cheap Labor (2001), which won the Phillip Taft Labor History Book Award. Cowie's essays and opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times, the American Prospect, the New Republic, Dissent, and other popular publications. He has also appeared in a variety of media outlets, including C‐SPAN's "Booknotes" and NPR’s "Weekend Edition," as well as documentaries.
This talk uses movies, television shows, rock and country music to trace the decline of class as an issue in American culture in the 1970s. Just as inequality began to matter more, the culture was talking about it less.