International Labor and Working-class History [ILWCH] is planning an issue on "Labor and the Military" and invites essay proposals from those doing research in this large field.
The military and the working class have intersected in myriad ways, especially in the era of mass conscription armies. Millions of workers served in, fought in, and died in the armed services. They brought their political and cultural values into armies and their military experiences back into labor movements and working class communities. Militaries have been large employers of civilian employees, on bases in home countries and abroad and, indirectly, in the vast armament industries. In some countries, like China and Iran, they directly control large parts of the economy, including major industrial establishments. Military employment practices have reflected and shaped civilian sector labor relations, race relations, and gender roles. Armies have been used to break strikes and labor movements and have launched coups designed to defeat left-wing and labor movements or occasionally (as in Portugal and more recently Venezuela) to defeat conservative forces. Labor historians have not paid a great deal of attention to the military, studying a few facets of its relationship to the working class (such as the use of soldiers to break strikes) but largely or completely ignoring others. Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, war and militarism remain prominent features of both advanced industrial societies and less developed ones.
Our goal is to publish a cluster of articles (possibly including an historiographical essay) about different geographical areas or comparative studies.
Possible themes and topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
* Class attitudes and class relations in armed forces and the politicization of armies; labor activists in the armed forces.
* The recruitment of working-class women into the armed forces and auxiliaries; race and gender and the working-class military experience.
* Working-class conscripts in colonial wars.
* Demobilization and its impact on labor markets; veterans and veterans’ organizations (including union veterans’ committees).
* The labor process in the armed services (including “the work of killing”); labor battalions (for example, of Ottoman Armenians during World War I); armies as civilian employers and trends towards privatizing labor (contractors) instead of utilizing the labor of the military recruits.
*Military service as a pathway to citizenship.
* Military memoirs as a genre of working-class writing – in conjunction with these one might also examine personal photographs as another form of self-representation.
* The use of the military against strikes and organized labor.
* Military dependents and their treatment.
Those interested in participating should send in a brief synopsis of the projected essay (1-3 pages), outlining its major themes and the major archival or other sources to be used. Proposals must be received by April 5, 2010. Send to email@example.com.
International Labor and Working-Class History
50 Labor Center Way
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
firstname.lastname@example.org Email: email@example.com
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