Jennifer Lisa Klein is a professor of history at Yale University, where she teaches courses in twentieth-century U.S. labor history, political economy and capitalism, women's history, urban history, and post–World War II America. Klein is a coauthor, with Eileen Boris, of Caring for America: Home Health Workers in the Shadow of the Welfare State (2012), which won the National Women's Studies Association's Sara A. Whaley Book Prize. She is also the author of For All These Rights: Business, Labor, and the Shaping of America's Public-Private Welfare State (2003), which won the OAH Ellis Hawley Prize and the Business History Conference's Hagley Prize. Klein served as co–senior editor of the journal, International Labor and Working-Class History (ILWCH), from 2010–2015. She won the 2014 Hans Sigrist Prize, a major international prize conferred by the University of Bern and Hans Sigrist Foundation in Switzerland, for her work on the theme of "Women and Economic Precarity: Historical Perspectives." She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Brookings Institution, and the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Research Center. Her articles have appeared in academic journals and collections as well in Dissent, the New York Times, prospect.org, washingtonpost.com, thenation.com, New Labor Forum, and Labor Notes.
Originally delivered as a lecture for Martin Luther King. Jr. Day to a coalition of various unions, community action groups, ministers, and public servants, this lecture looks historically at various moments when labor and civil rights groups organized around economic democracy and building new solidarities. It also draws on ideas of "capabilities" (from disability studies) and models for human flourishing to probe deeper into the potential of social movements.