Friday, April 18, 2008, 3:00–5:00 p.m.
Working-Class Utopia: Work, Masculinity, and Vice in Post-war Gary, Indiana
S. Paul O’Hara, Xavier University
Commentators: Marc Rodriguez, Notre Dame University, and Robert Bruno, University of Illinois at Chicago
Despite the national reputation of Gary, Indiana, as an industrial dystopia of crime, corruption and decay, the city’s residents created a community of hard work and ethnic loyalty. The workers of Gary built their identity around a working-class masculinity that embraced hard work, constant pollution, toughness, vice, and corruption. In so doing, the narratives became descriptions not of industrial dystopia but rather industrial utopia on working-class terms. While this class identity stood in contrast to postwar domesticity, suburbanization, and the middle-class company man, it also excluded other residents from this culture of work.
All papers are pre-circulated electronically to those who plan to attend the seminar in person. For a copy of the paper, e-mail Jenny Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 312-255-3524.
Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.
The Newberry Library Seminar in Labor History is co-sponsored by the History Department of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University and the Labor and Working Class History Association
The Newberry Library
Dr. William M. Scholl Center for
Family and Community History
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago, Illinois 60610
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