Politics and International Studies

Staff

Steven Parfitt PhD in History (Nottingham), BA in History and Economics, BA(Hons)and MA(Hons)in History (Auckland)

Photo of  Steven Parfitt

Teaching Fellow in History

My research addresses the social history of Britain and the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the global history of labour and labour movements. Most of my published work deals with the global history of an American social movement, the Knights of Labor, including a book with Liverpool University Press: Knights Across the Atlantic: The Knights of Labor in Britain and Ireland. This is in addition to numerous articles and book chapters on the Knights, and on the history of the American labour movement during the First World War. My work has appeared in prestigious British, American, Australian, New Zealand and Dutch journals.

I am currently working on a global history of the Knights, titled The First-and-a-half International. This book will bring together new research along with the arguments from my published work. It will emphasise the importance, hitherto under-recognised, of the Knights to global labour history. I have also assembled a collection of the writings of a pioneer woman trade unionist, Emma Paterson, which should be published in 2019 with Nottingham Trent Editions. My next project concerns the issue of precarious labour and the idea of a “precariat,” a word that has become widely used by politicians and activists as well as by academics, in historical perspective.

In articles aimed at the general public, I have drawn connections between historical and contemporary history for the Guardian, TheConversation.com, Jacobin, In These Times, Labor Notes, OpenDemocracy, and the Times Higher Education Supplement. I have also worked with the Trades Union Congress Library to create a public exhibition on the historic ties between the British and American Labour movements, provisionally titled “A Special Relationship,” which opened in February 2018 at the Working-Class History Museum.

My teaching load this year (still provisional) is:

Semester 1

  • Atlantic World (lectures)
  • Dissertation (supervision)

My office hours are 10-12 Friday.

Semester 2

  • Slavery in a Global Context (seminars)
  • Berlin Field Trip (supervising)
  • Dissertation (supervision)

Office hours for semester 2 TBC.

Selected publications

  • 2017. Knights Across the Atlantic: The Knights of Labor in Britain and Ireland. University of Liverpool Press. (link: https://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/collections/series-studies-in-labour-history/products/82821)
  • 2018. (edited with Matthew Kidd, Lorenzo Costaguta, and John Tiplady) Workers of All Countries Unite? Working-Class Nationalism and Internationalism Until 1945. Cambridge Scholars Press. (link: https://www.cambridgescholars.com/working-class-nationalism-and-internationalism-until-1945)
  • 2018. “Academic Casualisation in the UK,” International Labor and Working-Class History, 93: 221-27.
  • 2018. “The Future of Trade Unions,” OpenDemocracy, 10 June 2018, at https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/steven-parfitt/future-of-trade-unions.
  • 2018. “Lecturers on Strike,” Jacobin, 21 February 2018, at https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/02/britain-university-strike-pensions
  • 2017. “Powderly Will Go to Paris: The Paris Exposition and the Knights of Labor,” International Labor and Working-Class History, 92: 183-212.
  • 2017. “Constructing the Global History of the Knights of Labor,” Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, 14:1: 13-37.
  • 2016. “Fed up with zero-hours contracts and temporary work? Here’s what to do,” The Guardian, 28 November 2016, at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/28/zero-hourscontracts-temporary-work-fight-organised-union
  • 2015. “The First-and-a-half International: The Knights of Labor and the History of International Labour Organization in the Nineteenth Century,” Labour History Review, 80:2: 135-67.
  • 2013. “Brotherhood From a Distance: Americanization and the Internationalism of the Knights of Labor,” International Review of Social History, 58:3: 463-91.

Full publication list

Books

  • 2017. Knights Across the Atlantic: The Knights of Labor in Britain and Ireland. University of Liverpool Press.
  • 2018. (edited with Matthew Kidd, Lorenzo Costaguta, and John Tiplady) Workers of All Countries Unite? Working-Class Nationalism and Internationalism Until 1945. Cambridge Scholars Press.

Articles and Book Chapters

  • 2018. “Hadyn Sanders,” in Keith Gildart and David Howell (eds.), Dictionary of Labour Biography: Vol. XIV. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 2018. “The Knights of Labor and the British Trade Unions, 1880-1900,” in Yann Beliard and Emmanuelle Avril (eds.), Labour Disunited. Manchester University Press.
  • 2018. “Academic Casualisation in the UK,” International Labor and Working-Class History, 93: 221-27.
  • 2018. (with Lorenzo Costaguta, Matthew Kidd and John Tiplady) “Working-Class Nationalism and Internationalism Until 1945,” in Workers of All Lands Unite: Working-Class Nationalism and Internationalism Until 1945, Cambridge Scholars Press.
  • 2017. “Powderly Will Go to Paris: The Paris Exposition and the Knights of Labor,” International Labor and Working-Class History, 92: 183-212.
  • 2017. “Constructing the Global History of the Knights of Labor,” Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, 14:1: 13-37.
  • 2017. “A Nexus Between Labour Movement and Labour Movement: The Knights of Labor and the Financial Side of Global Labour History,” Labor History, 58:3: 288-302.
  • 2016. "Writing the History of the Australian Knights of Labor.” Labour History, 110: 1-18.
  • 2015. “The First-and-a-half International: The Knights of Labor and the History of International Labour Organization in the Nineteenth Century,” Labour History Review, 80:2: 135-67.
  • 2015. “Bringing the IWW Back In: Industrial Democracy and the Repression of Radicalism in the United States During the First World War,” Socialist History, 46.
  • 2015. “The Justice Department Campaign Against the IWW, 1917-1920,” University of Washington IWW History Project at http://depts.washington.edu/iww/justice_dept.shtml.
  • 2014. “Whither Industrial Democracy? The Federal Government and Organized Labour in the Telegraph Industry During the First World War,” Journal of American Studies, 48:2: 517-39.
  • 2013. “Brotherhood From a Distance: Americanization and the Internationalism of the Knights of Labor,” International Review of Social History, 58:3: 463-91.
  • 2013. “Democracies in Conflict: Union Democracy, Industrial Democracy, and Machinists in Bridgeport, Connecticut during the First World War,” Historical Studies in Industrial Relations, 34: 83-110.
  • 2010. ‘“Working Men Pass Through all the Stages of Union”: The Role of District Assembly 82 of the Knights of Labor in the Formation of the American Railway Union’, Australasian Journal of American Studies, 29:2: 24-44.

In Press

  • Emma Paterson: Feminist, Trade Unionist, Radical: Collected Works (provisionally appearing 2019 with Nottingham Trent Editions).
  • “Global Master Workman: Terence Powderly and Transatlantic Radicalism,” in Frank Jacob and Mario Kessler, Radicalism Beyond Borders: Transatlantic Anarchists and Socialists. Liverpool University Press (appearing 2019).
  •  “The Knights of Labor in North-East England,” North-East History Journal (forthcoming, 2019).
  • “Resisting Casualisation,” The Times Higher Education Supplement (October 2018)
  • “My Nearest Marginal Union,” Red Pepper (October 2018)
  • “New Unionism in the 21st Century,” Monthly Review Online (November 2018)

Forthcoming

  • The First-and-a-half International: The Global History of the Knights of Labor, 1860-1920 (proposal submitted to Cambridge University Press).

Public Exhibition

  • 2018. Labour’s Special Relationship? Connections Between the British and American Labour Movements from the Nineteenth Century to the Present, a public exhibition held in conjunction with the Trades Union Congress Library. Launched in February 2018 at the Working-Class Movement Library, Manchester.

Interviews

Online Essays

  • 2018. ““Two Tiny but Mighty Trade Unions Offer UK a Better Way to ‘Take Back Control,’” TheConversation.com, 11 July 2018, at https://theconversation.com/two-tiny-but-mighty-new-trade-unions-offer-uk-a-better-way-to-take-back-control-99617 (republished in Brave New Europe)
  • 2018. “The Future of Trade Unions,” OpenDemocracy, 10 June 2018, at https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/steven-parfitt/future-of-trade-unions
  • 2018. “The US Teachers Strike in Historical Perspective,” OpenDemocracy, 1 May 2018, at https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/steven-parfitt/us-teachers-strike-in-historical-perspective (republished in Common Dreams, Naked Capitalism, Global Rights)
  • 2018. “Turning the War in Our Favour,” Jacobin, 20 April 2018, at https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/04/uk-ucu-lecturers-strike-universities-austerity-pensions-casualization
  • 2018. “Whatever the USS vote, Can We Maintain Inter-generational Unity and Restore Our Universities?,” Open Democracy, 13 April 2018, at https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/steven-parfitt/whatever-uss-vote-can-we-maintain-inter-generational-unity-and-restore-our-univer
  • 2018. “The UK University Strike: Pensions, Precarity and Learning From History,” Anarchist Studies Research Blog, 13 April 2018, at https://anarchiststudies.noblogs.org/the-uk-university-strike-pensions-precarity-and-learning-from-history/
  • 2018. “The Wave of Militant Teacher Strikes has Gone Global. Just Look at the UK,” In These Times, 12 April 2018, at http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/21068/ucu-strike-uk-england-teacher-west-virginia-oklahoma-wave (republished in ZNet)
  • 2018. “Deal or No Deal?,” Jacobin, 31 March 2018, at https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/03/universities-uk-strike-contract-vote-education
  • 2018. “Why the UCU Strike Matters,” Jacobin, 14 March 2018, at https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/03/ucu-university-staff-strike-deal-pensions-union
  • 2018. “Striking British Academics Reject Offer: ‘No Capitulation!’,” Labor Notes, 13 March 2018, at http://www.labornotes.org/blogs/2018/03/striking-british-academics-reject-offer-no-capitulation
  • 2018. “British Academics Strike to Save Pensions,” Labor Notes, 2 March 2018, at http://www.labornotes.org/blogs/2018/03/british-academics-strike-save-pensions
  • 2018. “Lecturers on Strike,” Jacobin, 21 February 2018, at https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/02/britain-university-strike-pensions (republished in Trade Unions and Global Restructuring, The Wire)
  • 2018. “Why Labour Movements in the US and UK Need to Build Their Own “Special Relationship,” TheConversation.com, January 12 2018. At https://theconversation.com/why-labour-movements-in-the-uk-and-us-need-to-build-their-own-special-relationship-89844
  • 2017. “The Centrist Suicide Note,” Jacobin, 28 June 2017, at https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/06/jeremy-corbyn-michael-foot-1983-election-labour
  • 2017. “Giving Up on Godwin’s Law,” Jacobin, 10 February 2017, at https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/02/trump-fascism-gilded-age-knights-of-labor
  • 2016. “Fed up with zero-hours contracts and temporary work? Here’s what to do,” The Guardian, 28 November 2016, at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/28/zero-hourscontracts-temporary-work-fight-organised-union
  • 2016. “Labour’s Witch Hunt,” Jacobin, 20 September 2016, at https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/09/labour-party-trotskyist-entryist-militant-tendency-kinnock-corbyn
  • 2016. “A Useful Lesson From History as Labour Battles its Immigration Problem,” TheConversation.com, 19 August 2016, https://theconversation.com/a-useful-lesson-from-history-as-labour-battles-its-immigration-problem-64023
  • 2016. “Some of My Best Friends Work in American Studies: Bringing History and American Studies Departments Together,” US Studies Online at http://www.baas.ac.uk/usso/historyamstuddepts/
  • 2015.“May Day and the Future of Workers Internationalism” (with Lorenzo Costaguta), in US Studies Online at http://usstudiesonline.com/may-day-and-the-future-of-workersinternationalism/.