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Our Daily Work/Our Daily Lives Work shapes our lives. When we meet strangers, our first question is "what do you do?" We are not asking about their non-work


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Our Daily Work/Our Daily Lives

Work shapes our lives.  When we meet strangers, our first question is "what do you do?"  We are not asking about their non-work activities as much as we want to understand one of the most important ways of defining ourselves and others: what we and they do as "work."

 Both on and off the job, we explore the effect work has on us and how we affect our work. We talk, complain, celebrate and struggle. Our relationship to work is not only economic and social, it is cultural as well. Our personal and communal relations to work take many cultural and artistic forms expressed through poetry and narrative, sculpture and painting, humor and drama, craft and representation.  Through expressive culture, we integrate our occupation and personal life.

 "Our Daily Work/ Our Daily Lives" is a cooperative project that focuses on the cultural traditions of workers, workplaces as contexts for the expression of workers culture and the diversity of historical and artistic presentations of workers' lives.  Acting out of common interest, the Michigan Traditional Arts Program (MSU Museum) and the Labor Education Program (MSU School of Human Resources and Labor Relations) established "Our Daily Work/Our Daily Lives" to explore and present the richness and diversity of worker experience and workers culture with exhibits, lectures and presentations; writing and research projects; and reunions, dialogues, demonstrations and discussions.

 Co-Directors:  



John P. Beck                                             Kurt Dewhurst, Ph.D. 

MSU Labor Education Program                Traditional Arts Program                      

432 S. Kedzie Hall                                     Michigan State University Museum         

East Lansing, MI 48824                             East Lansing, MI 48824

(517) 355-2370 (phone)                              (517) 355-2370 (phone)

(517) 355-7656 (fax)                                   (517) 432-2846 (fax)                           

e-mail: beckj@msu.edu                              e-mail: dewhurs1@msu.edu                      

 The “Our Daily Work/Our Daily Lives” Brown Bag Series



(A Listing by School Year – Three Years Out of Fifteen)

2010 - 2011 

9/16 - Peter Limb  - “‘A Very, Very Wide Influence, Even When ... Dead’: The Early ANC and Black Workers in South Africa before World War II”

9/24 - Ronald Cohen - “Was There Ever a Singing Labor Movement?”

10/11 - Kevin Breen and Patrick Cook - “How Things Work at the Post Office: Postal Worker Fiction and Poetry”  

10/22 - Robert Zecker - “The Enraged People are Many": Race, Immigrant Newspapers, and the Creation of Working-Class Whiteness”  

11/5  - James Keeleghan  - “Work and Labor in Canadian Folk Music”

11/11 - Micalee Sullivan - “Made of Muscle and Blood: Mineworkers of Clifton-Morenci, Arizona and Kimberley, South Africa, 1880-1910”  

11/22  - Jennifer Burd and Lad Strayer  - “In Line at the Daily Bread: Without Home or Work in Lenawee County” 

12/3  - Ron Carver  - “Bringing Workers Culture to a Broader Audience: Painter Ralph Fasanella and the Public Domain Project” 

1/7  - Thomas Summerhill   - “Mob Rituals and Workers Culture: Rethinking Anti-abolitionism on the Eve of the Civil War” 

2/7  - Joanna Bosse  - “Salsa Dancing and the Working Class Mexicans of Central Illinois”

2/18  - Jim Hoesterey  - “Building the Islamic Work Ethic?: Tailoring Global Capitalism for the Indonesian Workplace” 

3/18  - Cynthia Edmonds-Cady  -  "Defining Welfare, Work, and Motherhood: Women's Participation in the Welfare Rights Movement in Detroit, 1964-1972"

3/25 - Emily L. Altimare  - "Putting Out Small Fires on the Shop Floor: Conflict and Compromise in the Automotive Workplace”

4/8  - Gordon Bok  - “Working New England Maritime: A Musical Tour”

4/28  - Timothy Messer-Kruse  -  “The Enduring Power of the Haymarket Square Bomb: Uncovering the Hidden History of a Failed Revolutionary Uprising in America”

2009-2010

9/17 -   Ann Folino White  “Performance and Protest: Gender and Labor in the 1935 Detroit Housewives Strike"

9/23Steve Lehto  “When Lies Becomes History: The Seeberville Murders, the Press and the 1913 Michigan Copper Strike”

10/2Peggy Seeger “A Feminist View of Women and Work in Anglo-American Traditional Songs”

 10/8 -  Martin Desht  “Faces from an American Dream: Photographing the Post-Industrial Landscape”



11/13 -   Dylan Miner  “‘Joe Hill Ain’t Dead!’: Wobbly Visual Culture and Its Impact on Contemporary Radical Graphics”

11/20 - Kirsten Fermaglich  “Becoming Someone Else: Jewish Name-changing, Employment and Class Mobility in Mid-Twentieth Century New York City

12/3 - Juan Javier Pescador “American Lenses, Mexican Aliens: Photography of the Mexican Experience in the United States, 1930 - 1965”

1/14/10  - Peter Beattie  “Working on the Imperial Farm: Convict Labor and Discipline on the Fernando de Noronha Island Penal Colony, Brazil 1830-1897

1/22 - Anna Pegler Gordon “Coming into Focus: Picturing Chinese American Workers in World War Two” 

2/4 - Howard Bossen and Eric Freedman  “Images and Voices: 160 Years of Steel and Work”

2/11 - Peter Rachleff  “Pulling the Strings of Race: The Buffalo Historical Marionettes Project of the WPA”

3/18  - Franco Barchiesi  “Precarious Liberation: Workers, the State, and Contested Social Citizenship in Post-Apartheid South Africa” 

3/25   Gregory Wood “‘A Constant Menace to All Employed Therein’: The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and Fighting Workplace Smoking in Progressive Era New York City ”

4/9  -  Charlie King and Karen Brandow  “The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti - a Musical Portrait”

4/16 -  Robert Bruno  “The Unhallowed Many: God and Working Class Lives”

4/30 - Don “Doop” Duprie and the Inside Outlaws  “Rocking Blood River: Songs of Working Class Detroit”


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