Fazio Wins University of North Carolina’s System Award for Teaching Excellence.

Past Working-Class Studies Association President, and Professor of English at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, Michele Fazio has won the University of North Carolina’s System Award for Teaching Excellence.fazio

The award is the highest post-secondary award in the state of North Carolina. Fazio will be formally honored and will serve as UNC-Pembroke’s winter commencement speaker.

Congratulations Michele!

Advocating for Protection for Students and Front Line Workers in the COVID-19 Economy

Working-Class Studies Association Secretary Colby King, an Assistant Professor of Sociology at USC-Upstate in Spartanburg, SC, published a an op-ed this past week in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal advocating for better protections for students and front line workers in the COVID-19 economy. Colleges and universities have taken on tremendous efforts to slow the spread of the virus by moving instruction online. To effectively slow the spread of the virus and flatten the curve, though, we all need our communities to join in the efforts as well, he argues.

The op-ed is published on the Herald-Journal’s website here. An unedited draft of the letter which includes several embedded links to useful resources is available here: Upstate Covid Op-ed 6.

Are you supporting students and workers in your community? Please share your stories with WCSA! Tweet at us @wcstudies or e-mail us at wcstudies@gmail.com And, feel free to adapt this letter for your own advocacy as appropriate!

WCSA Members Writing on Workers and the Working Class in the COVID-19 Economy

Amidst the ongoing spread of COVID-19 and the dramatic changes in work, Working-Class Studies Association members have been writing about circumstances for workers and the working class.

At the Working-Class Perspectives Blog, Sherry Linkon wrote about how the move to online instruction is highlighting class disparities in higher education. Most recently, Sarah Attfield wrote about how working-class people “hold society together.” And a week earlier, Kathy Newman wrote about class, capitalism, and coronavirus at Disney’s newest attraction.

At the Everyday Sociology Blog, Colby King wrote about how the working class and service industry workers are on the front lines of the COVID-19 economy. 

How are you seeing the pandemic changing circumstances for workers and the working class? If you’ve got writing out about how the pandemic is reshaping work and life for the working class, let us know. Share links to your writing at @wcstudies on Twitter, or at wcstudies@gmail.com and we will share it here.

WCSA Conference Postponed until 2021

WCSA members and friends,

All of us in WCSA hope that you are healthy, and doing as well as possible, given the state of our world.

We had hoped to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Center for Working-Class Studies at Youngstown State University by gathering together in that place, which has such significance for our organization, for our conference this year. However, we have decided to postpone until next year–we will not meet in person this year. Please look for further details, but we are planning now to celebrate the 26th anniversary of the Center in Youngstown, likely during May 2021.

Our activism, research, teaching, and our acts of solidarity in the world are always important, yet they seem especially keen now. How we walk through global crises concerns us a great deal. As an organization, we will continue to be a space–both literal and virtual–for thinking together about what we are facing collectively. As an organization focused on working-class issues, in all their intersectional ways, let us remember, think about, talk about, and teach about the ways that this crisis is also about class inequality. As scholars, and for our students and community allies, we face an unprecedented disruption of our lives. What would it mean to center working-class solidarity as we dedicate ourselves to a deeper mission for our work? What kinds of mutual aid are best suited to help us through a pandemic? How can we build institutions and systems that value solidarity and health over profit? How can we build a better world in the wake of this pandemic?

As we walk this path, we hope to glimpse in our activism, research, and teaching what a better world may be. Please visit us here on the WCSA website to see updates about what our members are doing, and to join or renew your membership. Please also check out the Journal of Working-Class Studies, and look for our next issue this June.

We hope you are safe and healthy. We will also look forward to seeing you in Youngstown in 2021.


Scott Henkel, President
Cherie Rankin, Past President
Allison Hurst, President-Elect
Working-Class Studies Association