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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Sarah H. Laslett
HIST 457
Seattle Campus

Topics in Labor Research

Analysis of the post-World War II decline of national labor movements and strategies employed to reverse this trend. Requires a major research project on organizing, bargaining, or another question in labor studies. Prerequisite: either POL S 249, HIST 249, or SOC 266. Offered: jointly with POL S 457.

Class description

Students taking this course will complete a major research project during the quarter. The research process will be broken down step-by-step, and in-class time will be devoted to a focus on those projects. Students can opt for one of two different kinds of research. The first option is applied research. At the first class meeting, students will get a choice of projects that have been set up in advance. Students will then form teams to work with the specific labor or social justice organization in the Seattle area for which the research project is being done. This is an opportunity for students to learn how to do strategic research for real campaigns. The second option is for students to work individually or in groups on an historical or contemporary labor topic of your choice; the instructor will work with students to identify a topic. Students should expect to spend approximately 10 hours per week on their research project. In addition to the focus on the research process and the student projects, we will read about and discuss the social, economic, and political history of working class struggle in the United States, and examine the role of research in union campaigns. CONCERNING THE PRE-REQUISITE: This can be waived at the discretion of the instructor. Students requesting this waiver will have to demonstrate commensurate preparation either through academic study, or life experience.

Student learning goals

Students will gain an in-depth understanding of the challenges facing todays labor movement.

Students will gain research skills that can be applied to academic and/or strategic projects.

Students will learn how to work in teams, and within social justice organizations.

Students will learn presentation and facilitation skills.

General method of instruction

This course will be run as a seminar. Participation by all will be vital. Students will lead discussion and make regular reports on their projects.

Recommended preparation

Previous study of or participation in labor organizing and/or social movements is key to succeeding in this advanced class. CONCERNING THE PRE-REQUISITE: This can be waived at the discretion of the instructor. Students requesting this waiver will have to demonstrate commensurate preparation either through academic study, or life experience.

Class assignments and grading

Students will be required to do weekly reading for class discussion, as well as outside reading for their research projects. Students will turn in decriptions of the various stages of their research, give in-class updates on their research, and a final presentation of their project. Students will also complete a journal about readings. Some films will also be shown in class, and will be included in the journal.

The research project and its various components, and reading journal, and class participation will form the basis for the student's grade.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Sarah H. Laslett
Date: 01/25/2007