Scholarly Work and the Work of Scholarship in an Age of Contingency

Solicited by the Committee on Part-Time, Adjunct, and Contingent Employment (CPACE) Endorsed by the Business History Conference (BHC)

Saturday, April 2, 2022, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Labor and Working-Class; Professional Development


With contingent faculty now making up almost three-quarters of higher education’s academic workforce, the teacher/scholar model has broken down. Most contingent historians engage actively as scholars, but they do so with little support from scholarly institutions. This session examines the impact of the academic workforce’s transformation on historical scholarship. How does contingency shape historians’ research and scholarship? What consequences does this have for the substance and format of historical scholarship in the 21st century? What changes does this transformation demand of colleges and universities, funders, editors, archives, faculty unions, and professional associations to support contingent historians’ excellence in scholarship?

Session Participants

Panelist: Lauren H. Braun-Strumfels, Raritan Valley Community College
Dr. Lauren Braun-Strumfels writes about the critical role Italians had in shaping U.S. immigration policy in the first two decades of federal border controls. In 2020 she was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Rome III, and in 2014 she held the inaugural Community College Humanities Association affiliated fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. She has published in Labor: Studies in Working-Class History, Perspectives on History, and World History Connected. Her first book, Partners in Gatekeeping: How Italy Shaped US Immigration Policy over Ten Pivotal Years 1891-1901, is currently under peer review by the University of Georgia Press.

Panelist: Beth English, Organization of American Historians
Beth English is Executive Director of the Organization of American Historians and Adjunct Associate Professor of History at Indiana University. Her research and teaching focus on labor and working-class history and culture, gender, the US South, and globalization. She is the author of A Common Thread: Labor, Politics and Capital Mobility in the Textile Industry (UGA Press, 2006), and co-editor of Global Women's Work in Transition: Perspectives on Gender and Work in the Global Economy (Routledge 2018). She is the past president of the Southern Labor Studies Association and producer and host of the podcast Working History.

Panelist: Benjamin H. Irvin, Journal of American History, Indiana University
Benjamin H. Irvin is an associate professor of history at Indiana University, the executive editor of the Journal of American History, and a distinguished lecturer of the Organization of American Historians. A social and cultural historian of British North America and the United States, his primary research interests include national identity, federalism, gender, disability, and law in the Revolutionary War and in the early republic. His first book, Clothed in Robes of Sovereignty: The Continental Congress and the People Out of Doors was published by Oxford University Press in 2011. His next project concerns masculinity, disability, class, and citizenship among veterans of the American Revolution. Prior to his work at the Journal of American History, Irvin served as the section editor for early America of History Compass and as the copy editor of Common-Place: The Interactive Journal of Early American Life.  

Panelist: William Powell Jones, University of Minnesota
William P. Jones is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the History Department at the University of Minnesota and President of the Labor and Working-Class History Association, as well as a Series Editor for the University of Illinois Press series on “The Working Class in American History.” He is author, most recently, of The March on Washington: Jobs, Freedom, and the Forgotten History of Civil Rights, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, Dissent, and other publications. He is currently writing a book titled Essential Workers: Public Employees and the Dignity of Labor.

Panelist: Aimee Loiselle, Smith College
Aimee Loiselle Aimee Loiselle is a postdoctoral fellow at Smith College. She studies the modern U.S. as a hub for transnational labor and capital with an interest in women workers, gender, and race. Her current project "Creating Norma Rae: Southern Labor Activists and Puerto Rican Needleworkers Lost in Reagan's America" follows women through the disaggregation of textile and garment manufacturing. Loiselle taught for seven years as an adjunct professor while completing her doctorate and received the 2020 Lerner-Scott Prize and Catherine Prelinger Award.