Priscilla Murolo

BA, Sarah Lawrence College. MA, PhD, Yale University. Special interest in US labor, women’s, and social history; author, The Common Ground of Womanhood: Class, Gender, and Working Girls’ Clubs; co-author, From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend: A Short, Illustrated History of Labor in the United States; contributor to various encyclopedias and anthologies and to educational projects sponsored by labor and community organizations; reviewer for Journal of American History, Journal of Urban History, International Labor and Working Class History, and other historical journals; contributor and editorial associate, Radical History Review; recipient of Hewlett-Mellon grants. SLC, 1988–

Undergraduate Courses 2019-2020

History

Class, Race, Gender, Work: Readings in US Labor History

Sophomore and above , Seminar—Year

This course explores American labor systems and labor struggles from the colonial era to the present. Core topics include slavery and other forms of bondage, as well as wage work, the enduring legacy of settler-colonial regimes, and intersections of class, racial, and gender hierarchies. Along the way, we will focus especially on the complex relationship between oppression and collective forms of resistance, from slave revolts to political parties, from bread-and-butter unionism to revolutionary movements, and from immigrant worker centers to campaigns for gay and lesbian rights. Readings include fiction, autobiography, and scholarship ranging from classics such as W. E. B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction to recent work on labor issues and labor organizing in the 21st century.

Faculty
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The Sixties

Open , Seminar—Year

According to our national mythology, social insurgencies of the 1960s originated in the United States and pitted radical youth against the American mainstream. The real story is much more complicated. Politically speaking, the “sixties” began in the mid-1940s and extended into the late 1970s; the ferment was by no means confined to youth; and developments within the United States reflected global patterns. Revolutionary movements and ideas reverberated from Asia and Africa to Europe and the Americas, and they mobilized people from virtually all walks of life. This course situates US movements within their global contexts and explores movements that unfolded overseas. On both fronts, we focus especially on revolutionary nationalism and its various permutations among activists grappling with issues of colonialism, class, race, gender, and sexuality. Readings include both historical documents and scholarship, and the syllabus makes ample use of music and film.

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Graduate Courses

Women's History 2019-2020

Class, Race, Gender, Work: Readings in US Labor History

Graduate Seminar—Year

This course explores American labor systems and labor struggles from the colonial era to the present. Core topics include slavery and other forms of bondage, as well as wage work, the enduring legacy of settler-colonial regimes, and intersections of class, racial, and gender hierarchies. Along the way, we will focus especially on the complex relationship between oppression and collective forms of resistance—from slave revolts to political parties, from bread-and-butter unionism to revolutionary movements, and from immigrant worker centers to campaigns for gay and lesbian rights. Readings include fiction, autobiography, and scholarship ranging from classics such as W. E. B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction to recent work on labor issues and labor organizing in the 21st century.

Faculty

Previous Courses

Revolutionary Women

Advanced , Seminar—Year

This is an advanced seminar, designed for seniors and graduate students but open to juniors with permission.

Moving from 19th-century struggles against slavery to more recent uprisings against apartheid and global capitalism, this seminar explores women’s relationships to revolutions that have shaped the modern world. Although the course focuses largely on US history, we will also consider developments in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. Topics include the revolutionary work of well-known individuals such as Harriet Tubman, Luisa Capetillo, Aleksandra Kollontai, Yuri Kochiyama, Mamphela Ramphele, and Rigoberta Menchú; unsung women’s essential contributions to revolutionary movements around the globe; the ways in which revolutions have addressed—or failed to address—women’s demands for equality and self-determination; and the emergence of independent women’s movements within national revolutions. Reading includes memoir, fiction, and political treatises, as well as historical scholarship.

Faculty

First-Year Studies: The Sixties

Open , FYS—Year

According to our national mythology, social insurgencies of the 1960s originated in the United States and pitted radical youth against the American mainstream. The real story is much more complicated. Politically speaking, the “sixties” began in the mid-1940s and extended into the late 1970s, the ferment was by no means confined to youth, and developments within the United States reflected global patterns. Revolutionary movements and ideas reverberated from Asia and Africa to Europe and the Americas, and they mobilized people from virtually all walks of life. This course situates US movements within their global contexts and explores movements that unfolded overseas. On both fronts, we focus especially on revolutionary nationalism and its various permutations among activists grappling with issues of colonialism, class, race, gender, and sexuality. Readings include historical documents, as well as scholarship, and the syllabus makes ample use of music and film.

Faculty

Revolutionary Lives: Biographical Perspectives on the Black Freedom Movement

Intermediate , Seminar—Spring

Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors.

The Black Freedom Movement that erupted after World War II rallied African American communities across the country, set the stage for a host of kindred movements in the United States, and inspired many millions around the world. This course explores the Freedom Movement’s history through the life stories of women and men who mobilized under its banners, through organizations including civil rights groups like the NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Marxist parties of various sorts, and nationalist formations such as the Black Panther Party, the Revolutionary Action Movement, and the Republic of New Africa. Readings include works of biography, autobiography, and memoir that tell the riveting stories of both high-profile figures—Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, and others—and foot soldiers whose names were never widely known outside the movement or have since been forgotten. Their personal histories offer uncommon perspectives on the Freedom Movement by illuminating its international connections, for example, and by challenging the conventional wisdom that civil rights and Black Power activists were fundamentally at odds. These histories also invite us to ponder timeless questions about personal responsibility and the power of individuals to change the world. The course is a reading-intensive seminar.

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