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Saturday, May 5, 2018

May 5-6, 2018: Scholarly Tribute: Erik Loomis



[On May 4th, 1886, a labor protest and rally in Chicago’s Haymarket Square in support of a nationwide strike turned into a confusing, bloody mess. So this week I’ve AmericanStudied a handful of contexts for the Haymarket Affair, leading up to this special weekend post on one of our most important current scholarly voices on labor.]
On three ways to read the vital voice of labor historian and professor Erik Loomis.
1)      Lawyers, Guns, & Money: I first encountered Erik’s work through the LGM blog, for which he’s written countless important posts (including the ongoing “This Day in Labor History” series) for many years now. LGM has been a model of a community of academics engaging with public issues and conversations since its May 2004 founding, and remains one of the best (and ever-more necessary) such spaces in 2018.
2)      His Books: Erik has published two ground-breaking books and has at least two more in progress, and among other things they model a back-and-forth between more academic and more public styles and audiences. His first book, Out of Sight: The Long and Disturbing Story of Corporations Outsourcing Catastrophe (2015), was more publicly oriented; his second, Empire of Timber: Labor Unions and the Pacific Northwest Forests (2016), more academic. He’s now at work on a similar pair: the publicly focused No Retreat, No Surrender: American History in Ten Strikes; and the academically oriented Soil and Steel: The New Deal Roots of Labor-Environmental Coalitions. I can’t recommend his first two highly enough, and greatly look forward to this next pair!
3)      His Public Scholarly Presence: I know about those works in progress primarily because of Erik’s public scholarly online and social media presences: on Twitter and and on Facebook, for example, where Erik both traces his own evolving work and career and responds thoughtfully yet sarcastically (both entirely warranted responses, of course) to the world around us. He also recently co-authored an excellent op ed for the Washington Post, one more step in his path to digital domination. Online and otherwise, when it comes to the kinds of labor histories about which I wrote this week (among many other subjects), there’s no one we should all be reading and learning from more than Erik.
Next series starts Monday,
Ben
PS. Other scholarly voices or works you’d highlight?

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