Jefferson CowieILR Dean's Professor Chair
Professor of Labor History
Chair, Department of Labor Relations, Law, & History
Professor Cowie teaches labor and working-class history, with research includes spanning a number of areas including politics, social history, and popular culture. His books focus on workers and the problem of social class in the postwar United States with an eye toward international and comparative history.
He is the author of Capital Moves: RCA's Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor, which received the Philip Taft Prize for the Best Book in Labor History for 2000, and co-editor of Beyond the Ruins: The Meanings of Deindustrialization, and, most recently, of Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class (2010), which received a number of awards, including the Francis Parkman Prize for the Best Book in American history from the Society of American Historians, the Merle Curti Award from the Organization of American Historians, and the best book award from Labor History.
Cowie received his B.A. in history from the University of California , Berkeley in 1987 and his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1997.
My research focuses on the role of working people and their institutions, movements, and ideologies in the United States during the twentieth century. I study how class and inequality work both nationally and globally.
- Jefferson Cowie. 2011. Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class. New Yokr: The New Press, 2011.
- Jefferson Cowie, Nick Salvatore, . 2011. The Long Exception: An Interpretation of the New Deal from FDR to Obama. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011. (Accepted)
- Jefferson Cowie. 2003. Beyond the Ruins: The Meanings of Deindustrialization. Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 2003. Jefferson Cowie, Joseph Heathcott.
- Jefferson Cowie. 1999. Capital Moves: RCA’s Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor. Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 1999.
- Jefferson Cowie. . Getting Over the New Deal. in Labor's New World. New York: The New Press, Daniel Katz and Richard Greenwald. (Submitted)
- Jefferson Cowie. 2004. 'Vigorously Left, Right, and Center at the Same Time:’ The Crosscurrents of Working-Class America in the 1970s. in America in the Seventies. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2004. Beth Bailey, David Farber. (75-106)
- Jefferson Cowie, Joseph Heathcott. 2003. The Meanings of Deindustrialization. in Beyond the Ruins: The Meanings of Deindustrialization. Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 2003. Jefferson Cowie, Joseph Heathcott. (1-15)
- Nick Salvatore, Jefferson Cowie. 2008. The Long Exception: Rethinking the Place of the New Deal in American History, International Labor and Working-Class History. 74(1):3-32.
- Jefferson Cowie, Lauren Boehm. 2006. Dead Man's Town: 'Born in the USA,' Social History, and Working-Class Identity, American Quarterly. 28(2):353-378.
- Jefferson Cowie. 2005. Portrait of the Working Class in a Convex Mirror: Toward a History of the 1970s, Labor: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas. 2(3):93-102.
- Jefferson Cowie. 2004. The Enigma of Working-Class Conservatism: From the Hard Hats to the NASCAR Dads, New Labor Forum. 13:9-17.
- Jefferson Cowie. 2003. ‘A One-Sided Class War’: Rethinking Doug Fraser’s 1978 Resignation from the Labor-Management Group, Labor History. 44(3):307-314.
- Jefferson Cowie. 2002. Nixon’s Class Struggle: Romancing the New-Right Worker, 1969-1973, Labor History. 43:257-283.
- Jefferson Cowie. 1997. National Struggles in a Transnational Economy: A Critical Analysis of Labor’s Response to NAFTA, Labor Studies Journal. 21:3-32.
- Jefferson Cowie. . A Common Thread: Labor, Politics and Capital Mobility. New England Quarterly,
- Jefferson Cowie. . Love Song to the UAW. Dissent magazine,
- Jefferson Cowie. . Rethinking U.S. Labor History: Essays on the Working-Class Experience. Journal of American History, (Submitted)
- Jefferson Cowie. 2014. Employee: A Political History. London: Reviews in History, 2014.
- Jefferson Cowie. 2013. Love Song to the UAW. Dissent magazine, 2013.
- Jefferson Cowie. 2012. Out of Control: Reagan, Labor, and the Fate of a Nation. Dissent, 2012.
- Jefferson Cowie. 2010. Review of Timothy Minchin, 'Don't Sleep with Stevens!: The J.P. Stevens Campaign and the Struggle to Organize the South, 1963-80'. in LABOR: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas. 2010. (Accepted)
- Jefferson Cowie. 2004. Review of Michael Zweig, 'What's Class Got To Do With It? American Society in the Twenty-First Century'. in Working-Class Notes. 2004.
- Jefferson Cowie. 2004. The Intellectual as Fan (Review of Marcusee, 'Chimes of Freedom' and Coles, 'A Poet Singing, A People Listening'). in Reviews in American History. 2004. (274-281)
- Jefferson Cowie. 2004. A Liberal’s Heartland Lament (Review of Frank, 'What’s the Matter with Kansas?'). Chicago Tribune Books, 2004.
- Jefferson Cowie. 2004. Death in the Desert (Review of Urrea, 'Devil’s Highway'). Chicago Tribune Books, 2004.
- Jefferson Cowie. 2003. Review of Edward C. Lorenz, 'Defining Global Justice: The History of U.S. International Labor Standards Policy'. in American Historical Review. 2003. (865-866)
- Jefferson Cowie. 2002. In Search of the Postmodern Wobbly (Review of Hardt and Negri, 'Empire'). in New Labor Forum. 2002. (114-119)
- Jefferson Cowie. 2002. A Century of Sweat: Subcontracting, Flexibility, and Consumption (Review of five books on sweated labor). in International Labor and Working-Class History. 2002. (128-140)
- Jefferson Cowie. 2002. Solidarity Strikes Out (Review of Franklin, 'Three Strikes,' Zinn, Frank, Kelley, 'Three Strikes,' and Murolo and Chitty, 'From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend'). in American Prospect. 2002. (41-45)
- Jefferson Cowie. 2001. Fandom, Faith, and Bruce Springsteen (Review of Alterman, 'It Ain’t No Sin to be Glad You’re Alive' and Cavicchi, 'Tramps Like Us'). in Dissent. 2001. (112-117)
- Jefferson Cowie. 2000. Review of Dana Frank, 'Buy American: The Untold Story of Economic Nationalism'. in Journal of American History. 2000. (193-194)
- Jefferson Cowie. 2000. Review of Stephen B. Adams and Orville R. Butler, 'Manufacturing the Future: A History of Western Electric'. in American Historical Review. 2000. (938-939)
- Jefferson Cowie. 1999. Review of Judith Stein, 'Running Steel, Running America: Race, Economic Policy and the Decline of Liberalism'. in Business History Review. 1999. (546-548)
- Jefferson Cowie. 1999. Review of Kim Moody, 'Workers in a Lean World: Unions in the International Economy'. in International Labor and Working-Class History. 1999. (134-136)
- Jefferson Cowie. 1999. Review of Andrew Herod, ed., 'Organizing the Landscape: Geographical Perspectives on Labor Unionism'. in Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 1999. (556-557)
- Jefferson Cowie. 1998. Review of Devon G. Peña, 'The Terror of the Machine: Technology, Work, Gender, and Ecology on the U.S.-Mexico Border' and Norma Iglesias Prieto, 'Beautiful Flowers of the Maquiladora: Life Histories of Women Workers in Tijuana'. in Labor History. 1998. (502-504)
- Jefferson Cowie. 1998. Review of Tom Zaniello, 'Working Stiffs, Union Maids, Reds, and Riffraff: An Organized Guide to Films About Labor'. in Industrial and Labor Relations Review. 1998. (720-721)
Honors and Awards
- Best Book Award , United Association for Labor Education .
- Choice Top Academic Book, Choice (Journal).
- Finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Prize for the Best Book in Nonfiction, Columbia School of Journalism and the Neiman Foundation at Harvard University .
- Francis Parkman Prize, Society of American Historians.
- Labor History Best Book Award, Labor History (Journal).
- Merle Curti Award for Best Book in Social and/or Intellectual History , Organization of American Historians .
- Mortar Board Society "Last Lecture", Mortar Board National Honor Society.
- Mortar Board Society "Last Lecture", Mortar Board National Honor Society.