Description: In this panel, we examine the ways that workers who provide caring and emotional labor have creatively resisted perceptions that their work should exist outside the market. As scholars of gender and labor in the fields of History, Multicultural Women’s Studies, and Gender and Sexuality Studies, we employ different approaches to examine how groups of women care workers have historically contested the undervaluation of their labor. We tell three different stories: how Black women domestic workers in the early 20th century used labor organizing to assert their claims on the rights of citizenship, how Seattle’s daycare workers in the late 20th century coordinated a citywide education campaign to shape public perceptions of childcare, and how domestic workers and cocktail waitresses contended with the sexualization of their labor in the first decades of the 21st century. By examining these three different labor struggles over the past 120 years, we suggest continuities in the ways workers who provide intimate and caring labor have challenged misperceptions of their work across race, time, and region. This event is part of the American Historical Association Annual Conference and is co-sponsored by the Berkshire Conference of Women's Historians and the Labor and Working-Class History Association.
Danielle T. Phillips-Cunningham, Associate Professor of Multicultural Women's and Gender Studies, Texas Woman's University
Ariella R. Rotramel, Vandana Shiva Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Intersectionality Studies, Connecticut College
Justine Modica, PhD Candidate in History, Stanford University
Chair and commentator: Annelise Oreck, Professor of History, Dartmouth College