Thursday, January 1, 2009

Upcoming Conference on the American Right and U.S. Labor

Ucsb_2 If you're looking for a reason to stay in Southern-ish California after the AALS, you might be interested in an upcoming conference that friend of the blog Patrick S. O'Donnell forwarded to me:

Nelson Lichtenstein, University of California Santa Barbara, and Chris Tilly, UCLA, have just circulated a call for the conference The American Right and U.S. Labor: Politics, Ideology, and Imagination, to be held January 16-17, 2009 at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The conference will be hosted by the UCSB Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy and the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.

The details are at Mary Dudziak's Legal History Blog.


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Tracked on Jan 26, 2009 9:40:26 AM


It says a lot about the current state of academia that a conference devoted to studying the relationship between "the American Right" and the labor movement would not include a single participant identified with the American Right.

The conference flyer mentions "Anti-union conservatives – in Congress, the Chamber of Commerce, the Right-to-Work Legal Defense Foundation, within the world of the rightwing think tanks, and on the editorial pages of some leading newspapers." It also states that the conference organizers have "accepted papers from some 32 individuals," yet so far as I can tell none of those individuals has anything to do with any of the organizations promoting those anti-union views. Nor, so far as I can tell, have any of the listed academics challenged the Wagner Act model on the grounds of efficiency, individualism, productivity, or any of the other reasons put forth by those the conference purports to study.

In short, it looks like a typical academic conference in this field: totally one-sided, with not the slightest interest in intellectual debate or even in hearing first-hand from those with a different perspective. Yup, that's sure a great reason to stay in Southern California after the AALS.

Posted by: Dennis Nolan | Jan 1, 2009 9:42:54 PM

One look at the conference materials demonstrates the virtue in Dennis' comments. This ideological autoeroticism masquerading as an academic exercise. Given the fact that this website welcomes opposing comments, it is somewhat surprising that it would be noted with what seems to be an endorsement.

Posted by: James Young | Jan 2, 2009 5:40:16 PM

If the conference is one-sided, and I have no reason to doubt Dennis' observation that it is, that's all the more reason for people with opposing viewpoints to go and voice their opinions.


Posted by: Marcia McCormick | Jan 2, 2009 6:05:25 PM

Sorry, Marcia, but no dice. Like many others, I have better things to do than spend my valuable time (like fighting the Good Fight against forced-unionism abuses) and money (no academic subsidies for me) in the hopes of posing an embarrassing question or two during the limited time (if any), allowed for questions to a series of stacked panels. Or to lend any credibility to such an exercise.

You might want to compare the bent of this conference with various Federalist Society events. Or even to those sponsored by the American Constitution Society, for that matter (from what I've heard).

Posted by: James Young | Jan 4, 2009 6:16:38 PM

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