SOC 266 A: Introduction to Labor Studies

Winter 2022
MW 10:00am - 11:20am / KNE 220
Section Type:
Joint Sections:
POL S 249 A , HSTCMP 249 A
Jacob M. Grumbach
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):


This interdisciplinary course focuses on work and workers, with particular attention to the way politics, law, and collective action shape how work is performed and compensated. The focus is primarily on the United States, but some attention is also given to conditions in other countries. The course looks broadly at factors that shape worker compensation, autonomy, and wellbeing. The course looks at worker struggles to gain power and influence conditions in the workplace and society. The class offers perspectives on the formation, internal organization, and influence of worker organizations in different industries, national settings, and historical periods.

The class considers working conditions in today’s world of globalization and precarious employment.

The course puts current conditions in historical perspective by considering changes over time in technology and labor processes; international political economy; the racial, gender, and skill composition of the labor force; state repression and state tolerance of collective action; and employer opposition to unions and workers' rights. The course concludes by looking at some current efforts to resist unfair working conditions and assert worker voice in the workplace.

List of Graded Assignments:

Midterm Exam                                                                                    

Reading Responses                                                                            

Discussion Section Participation and Quizzes                                

Final Exam                                                                                         

Term Paper                                                                


Quiz Section Zoom links for 1/7/21:


Catalog Description:
Conceptual and theoretical issues in the study of labor and work. Role of labor in national and international politics. Formation of labor movements. Historical and contemporary role of labor in the modern world. Offered: jointly with HSTCMP 249/POL S 249.
GE Requirements Met:
Social Sciences (SSc)
Last updated:
June 12, 2024 - 1:52 pm