The Wages of Whiteness. Editors: Mike Davis and Michael Sprinker. Race and the Making of the American Working Class. The Haymarket Seri. s offers original . The Wages of Whiteness. Race and the Making of the. American Working Class. Revised Edition. •. DAVID R. ROEDIGER. VERSO. London •. New York. The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class. Article (PDF David Roediger at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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Roediger born July 13, is the Foundation Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History at the Wagee of Kansaswhere he has been since the fall of His research interests include the construction of racial identityclass structureslabor studies, and the history of American radicalism.

David Roediger

He writes from a Marxist theoretical framework. Roediger was born on July 13, in Columbia, Illinois. He attended local public schools through high school. He earned wagrs bachelor of science degree in education from Northern Illinois University in He went on to do graduate study and earned a PhD in history from Northwestern University inwhere he wrote a dissertation under the direction of George M.

David Roediger – Wikipedia

After receiving his doctorate, Roediger was a lecturer and assistant professor of history at Northwestern University from to He served as an assistant professor daviid the University of Missouri inrising to full professor in He moved og the University of Minnesota inand was chair of the university’s American Studies Program from to Inhe wafes appointed professor of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Roediger is a member of the board of directors of the Charles H Kerr Company Publishersa position he has held since Roediger’s research interests primarily concern race and class in the United Statesalthough he has also written on radicalism in American history and politics.

A History of American Labor and the Working Day, a book that provides a highly detailed account of the movement to shorten the working day in the United States.

The work broke new ground by combining labor history with a study of culture and the nature of work. The book also extended the history of the eight-hour day movement to colonial times.


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The authors argued that debate over the length of the work-day or work-week has been the central issue of the American labor whitwness during periods of high growth. Roediger’s book, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Classwas published in Whiteness and the Literary Imaginationthis work is often cited as the starting point of contemporary whiteness studies.

The argument was also in some regards anticipated by Abram Lincoln Harris ‘ radical scholarship in the s. As one who has been the beneficiary of kind supportive comments from him for my own efforts in this field of historical investigation, I undertake this critical essay with no other purpose than furthering the our common aim of the disestablishment of white identity, and the overthrow of white supremacism in general.

In the work, Roediger dwvid that “whiteness” is a historical phenomenon in the United States, as many different ethnicities now considered ” white ” were not initially perceived as such here.

The Irishfor example, as Roman Catholics and from rural areas, were not considered “white” – meaning accepted as members of the Anglo-American Protestant majority society – until they began to distinguish themselves from black slaves and freedmen; from the New York Draft Riots ofto riots in Philadelphia against black voting, and the Chicago Race Riot ofethnic Irish were prominent in violent confrontations against black Americans, with whom they competed for jobs, physical territory and political power.

Roediger believes their struggle reflects the emergence of the modern theory of color consciousnessthrough which notions of “nations” and “races” were increasingly linked to color as the primary category of human difference.

Roediger claims that the social construction of the concept of a white race in the United States was a conscious effort by slave owners to gain distance from those they enslaved, who were generally non-European and non-Christian. In addition, white working peoples gained distance from their Southern proletarian complements, the o. By the 18th century, he says, “white” had become well-established as a rodeiger term in the United States; by the end of the 19th, it had become an all-encompassing one.

Weaving together economic theory, psychology, and the histories of immigration, industrialization, class formation and slavery, Roediger in this work addressed what has become a common question in labor history, specifically, and American political reodiger more generally: DuBois also posed this question in his seminal work, Black Reconstructionas he saw a failure of labor in creating connections across racial lines.


In the nineteenth-century context where the small-scale, autonomous craftsmen were being replaced, slowly but inexorably, by the factory system – with great consequences for the “liberty” of ordinary Americans, Roediger suggested rpediger for workers to embrace “whiteness” and a caricatured representation of black slaves provided them with a meaningful symbolic “wage,” replacing the status values of independence and craft skill for workers.

This idea that “whiteness” has enormous surplus value for the working class has influenced a generation of scholars including, most recently, cultural critic Thomas Frank.

Most immediately, it was considered davld scholars to have contributed to what analysts had observed to be the splitting of the civil rights consensus of the national Democratic Party and the shift among many of the white whitenees class to vote for Republican Ronald Reagan as president inpushing him to victory.

Wages of Whiteness won the Merle Curti Award in from the Organization of American Historiansfor the best work of social history in Roediger is researching the interrelation between labor management and the formation of racial identities in the U. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article includes a list of referencesbut its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations.

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ColumbiaIllinoisU. Retrieved 6 February The Invention of the White Race” Hoboken: As a matter of fact the northern wage-earners were as hostile to Negro freemen as to the slaves.

The mobbing of Negroes was quite a common occurrence in the northern and middlewestern cities wihteness the pre-civil war period. Retrieved from ” https: Views Read Edit View history. This page was last edited on 11 Novemberat By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.