||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (February 2013)|
David R. Roediger
|Born||July 13, 1952 (age 61)
Columbia, Illinois, U.S.
|Alma mater||Northern Illinois University
Northwestern University (PhD)
|Organization||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
David R. Roediger (born July 13, 1952) is an American Kendrick C. Babcock Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Beginning in the fall of 2014, he will be the Foundation Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History at Kansas University. His research interests include the construction of racial identity, class structures, labor studies, and the history of American radicalism. He writes from a Marxist theoretical framework.
Early life and education
Roediger was born on July 13, 1952 in Columbia, Illinois. He received a bachelor of science degree in education from Northern Illinois University in 1975, and a PhD in history from Northwestern University in 1980, where he wrote a dissertation under the direction of George M. Fredrickson
After receipt of his doctorate, Roediger was a lecturer and assistant professor of history at Northwestern University from 1980 to 1985. He then served as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri in 1985, rising to full professor in 1992. He moved to the University of Minnesota in 1995, and was chair of the university's American Studies Program from 1996 to 2000.
In 2000, he was appointed professor of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Roediger has also served as the director for the Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society at UIUC.
Roediger is a member of the board of directors of the Charles H Kerr Company Publishers, a position he has held since 1992.
Roediger's research interests primarily concern race and class in the United States, although he has also written on radicalism in American history and politics.
In 1989, Roediger and historian Philip Foner co-authored Our Own Time: A History of American Labor and the Working Day, a book that provides a highly detailed account of the movement to shorten the working day in the United States. The work broke new ground by combining labor history with a study of culture and the nature of work. The book also extended the history of the eight hour day movement to colonial times. The authors argued that debate over the length of the work-day or work-week has been the central issue of the American labor movement during periods of high growth.
The Wages of Whiteness
Roediger's book The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class, was published in 1991. Along with Alexander Saxton's "Rise and Fall of the White Republic" (1990) and Toni Morrison's "Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination" (1992), it is often cited as the starting point of contemporary Whiteness Studies.
In the work, Roediger argued that whiteness is a historical phenomenon in that many different ethnicities now considered "white" in the United States were not initially perceived as such. Irish Americans, for example, were not considered "white" - meaning members of a larger white racial category - until they began to contrast themselves with black slaves; this storyline reflects the emergence of the modern theory of color consciousness, through which notions of "nations" and "races" were increasingly linked to color as the primary category of human difference.. Roediger claims that the social construction of the concept of a white race in the United States was a conscious effort to mentally distance slave owners from slaves, and white working peoples from their Southern proletarian complements. By the 18th century, he says, "white" had become well-established as a racial term; by the end of the 19th, it had become an all-encompassing one.
Weaving together economic theory, psychology, and the histories of immigration, industrialization, class formation and slavery, "The Wages of Whiteness" addressed what has become a common question in labor history specifically and American political culture more generally: why, historically, have working class blacks and whites not found common cause in their shared suffering at the bottom of the social ladder? In a context where the small-scale, autonomous craftsmen were being replaced, slowly but inexorably, by the factory system - with great consequences for the "liberty" of ordinary Americans - Roediger suggested that an embrace of whiteness and the parodic representation of black slaves provided a meaningful symbolic "wage," replacing the status values of independence and craft skill.
This idea that whiteness has enormous surplus value for the working class has influenced a generation of scholars including, most recently, cultural critic Thomas Frank. Most immediately, it helped to explain why President Ronald Reagan was able to split the civil rights consensus down the middle and get white working class Americans to vote him into office.
"Wages of Whiteness" won the Merle Curti Award from the Organization of American Historians, for the best work of social history in any given year.
Roediger is currently researching the interrelation between labor management and the formation of racial identities in the U.S.
In 1992, Roediger was given the Merle Curti Award for his book, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class. The prize is given to the best book in social history by the Organization of American Historians.
In 1999, Roediger won the Carlton C. Qualey Memorial Award for his article "Inbetween Peoples," which was co-authored with James Barrett. The award is given by the Immigration and Ethnic History Society for the best article in the Journal of American Ethnic History.
- Roediger, David R. (2008). How Race Survived U.S. History: From Settlement and Slavery to the Obama Phenomenon. New York: Verso.
- Roediger, David R. (2006). History Against Misery. Chicago, Illinois: Charles H. Kerr Company. ISBN 0-88286-305-3.
- Roediger, David R. (2005). Working Toward Whiteness: How America's Immigrants Became White. The Strange Journey from Ellis Island to the Suburbs. New York: Basic Books.
- Roediger, David R. (2002). Colored White: Transcending the Racial Past. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-24070-7.
- Roediger, David R. (1994). Towards the Abolition of Whiteness: Essays on Race, Class and Politics. London, UK and New York: Verso Books. ISBN 0-86091-658-8.
- Roediger, David R. (1999). The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class. Rev. ed. London, UK and New York: Verso Books. ISBN 1-85984-240-2.
- Roediger, David R. and Elizabeth Esch. The Production of Difference: Race and The Management of Labor in U.S. History. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. ISBN 9780199739752
- Roediger, David R. and Foner, Philip S. Our Own Time: A History of American Labor and the Working Day. Greenwood, Colo.: Greenwood Press, 1989. ISBN 0-313-26062-1
- Stallings, Tyler; Roediger, David R.; Jones, Amelia; and Gonzales-Day, Ken. Whiteness: A Wayward Construction. Laguna Beach, Calif.: Laguna Art Museum, 2003. ISBN 0-911291-31-8
Works edited by
- Blatt, Martin and Roediger, David R., eds. The Meaning of Slavery in the North. New York: Garland, 1998. ISBN 0-8153-3758-2
- Kent, Ronald C.; Markham, Sara; Roediger, David R.; and Shapiro, Herbert, eds. Culture, Gender, Race, and U.S. Labor History. Greenwood, Colo.: Greenwood Press, 1993. ISBN 0-313-28828-3
- Roediger, David R., ed. Black on White: Black Writers on What It Means to Be White. Paperback ed. New York: Schocken Books, 1999. ISBN 0-8052-1114-4
- Roediger, David R., ed. Fellow Worker: The Life of Fred Thompson, By Fred Thompson. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr Publishing Co., 1993. ISBN 0-88286-220-0
- Roediger, David R., ed. John Brown, By W.E.B. DuBois. New York: Random House, 2001. ISBN 0-679-78353-9
- Roediger, David R., ed. Labor Struggles in the Deep South, By Covington Hall. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company, 1999. ISBN 0-88286-244-8
- Roediger, David R. and Rosemont, Franklin, eds. Haymarket Scrapbook. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr Publishing Co., 1986. ISBN 0-88286-147-6
- Green, Archie; Roediger, David; Rosemont, Franklin; and Salerno, Salvatore, eds. The Big Red Songbook. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr Publishing Co., 2007. ISBN 0-88286-277-4
- Roediger, David R., ed. The Best American History Essays 2008. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2008. ISBN 0-230-60591-5
- Roediger, David R. and Martin Smith, eds. Listening to Revolt: Selected Writings of George Rawick. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr Publishing Co., 2010. ISBN 0-88286-318-5
- Roediger, David, Jeremy Krikler and Wulf D. Hund, eds. Wages of Whiteness & Racist Symbolic Capital. Berlin: Lit, 2010. ISBN 978-3-643-10949-1
- "David Roediger," Dept. of History, UIUC
- Writer's Directory. 22nd ed. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale Group, 2007. ISBN 1-55862-598-4