America and the Left: Past and Present

AHA Session 189
Sunday, January 4, 2015: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Murray Hill Suite B (New York Hilton, Second Floor)
Meg Jacobs, Princeton University
The Ever-Present Roar of Gender
Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University
Radicalism’s Future: A History
Christopher Phelps, University of Nottingham
State-Building from the Bottom Up
Meg Jacobs, Princeton University
The Democratic Party’s Right Turn
Rick Perlstein, independent scholar
Reluctant Radicals: How the Labor Movement Moved to the Left Margins of American Politics
Nelson Lichtenstein, University of California, Santa Barbara

Session Abstract

In light of all talk of conservatism and the apparent triumph of austerity budgets, income inequality, and market ideologies, we would do well to consider the role of the left in recent American politics and public policy.  Rather than naive musings or pessimistic laments, the panelists will provide hard-hitting explorations of past and contemporary examples where the left has succeeded in shaping history as it unfolds. Of course many moments of political success have carved well-worn tracks in our historical memory, others less so.  But the time has come to reexamine and reconsider the story of the American left through 21st century lenses.  The key forces that shape our current political economy--the globalization and financialization of markets, deregulation and privatization, the feminization of the workforce, the technological divide and education gap, and more--are now clear.  And it is time to reflect on how these forces emerged and how the left has or has not contributed and responded to their formation.

See more of: AHA Sessions