Shape of American Culture

Chronicling changes of the 1970s, Stayin' Alive wins fourth national honor
Shape of American Culture
Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jefferson Cowie's Stayin' Alive book has won a fourth national honor

This time, it's the Francis Parkman Prize.

Cowie receives the honor May 16 from the Society of American Historians at the Century Club in New York City.

The annual award, intended "to stimulate the writing of history as literature," is made for a nonfiction book "on any aspect of the history of what is now the United States."

Stayin' Alive also won The Merle Curti Award for best book in American social and intellectual history from the Organization of American Historians and the Best Book Award from the United Associate for Labor Education.

It was also a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Prize for Excellence in Nonfiction. The Lukas Prize is co-administered by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation.

Published in September by The New Press, Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class interprets America's shift from New Deal optimism to broader economic inequalities.

Cowie, a social and political historian, studies how class, inequality and work shape post-war American politics and culture.

He teaches labor history at ILR, where he is an associate professor. Cowie also teaches in Cornell's Department of History and American Studies Program.

The author of Capital Moves: RCA's Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor and co-editor of Beyond the Ruins: The Meanings of Deindustrialization, Cowie is house professor and dean of Cornell's William Keeton House.