Call for papers

Hand holding up a sign with the words democracy is not for saleLabor and Democracy, at Home and Abroad

October 17-19, 2024
Wayne State University

The North American Labor History Conference, held annually since 1979 and now biennial, is holding its forty-first meeting, October 17-19, 2024, on the theme of Labor and Democracy.

There will be a presidential election in the United States in 2024. As labor scholars, historians, activists, archivists, and union members, we meet to consider the relationship of the labor movement and of working people to democratic governance and the contribution of workers and their institutions to the constitution of a democratic society. Across the globe, other states and societies are asking the same question.

The year 2024 comes at a crucial juncture for workers and labor organizations in the United States and throughout the world. We have been celebrating anniversaries of democratic movements globally, movements for empowerment and political rights as causes embraced by many working-class radicals and labor organizers, both men and women. The rise of Christian nationalist and other authoritarian movements threaten political rights in America and beyond. The working class, racialized people, ethnic minorities, women and LGBTQ+ people are organizing against voting restrictions while struggling against indifference, apathy, and fear.

In 2024, NALHC issues a call inviting panels, workshops, roundtable sessions, and papers discussing the experience of workers in democracies and the impact on democracies of organized labor and social movements of working people. We hope to see proposals that discuss labor and the struggle for democracy both within national or local states and within the labor movement; labor in emerging democracies or emerging authoritarian states; the connections between feminism and/or anti-racism and labor; the impact of alternative forms of worker organizations on labor in democratic states; democracy in the workplace and in the contemporary gig economy; and labor and current political activism. Other topics are welcome.

McGregor Conference Center with flowers in frontProposals for complete sessions should include a 1-2 page session description, including paper summaries, and a one-page cv for each participant. Proposals for individual presentations should include a one-paragraph abstract and a one-page cv.

For inquiries, write Professor Elizabeth Faue, Director, Labor@Wayne, Wayne State University

Submissions should be sent as a single PDF file by April 7, 2024, to