Please join the Center for International and Area Studies, the Program of African Studies, the Chabraja Center for Historical Studies, and the Evanston Public Library for this discussion with historian Peter Cole about his book Dockworker Power: Race and Activism in Durban and the San Francisco Bay Area.
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You will also need to click on the REGISTER button on this (EPL) page, and include your email address. Once you have registered here, you will be sent the meeting link, along with some tips for using Zoom. You do not have to appear via video if you don't want to - you can join using audio and chat only, if that is your preference. At the scheduled meeting time, click on the link you have been sent to join. Professor Cole will present his lecture, and we will conduct a question and answer session using questions participants have submitted via the Zoom chat.
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About the book:
Dockworkers have power. Often missed in commentary on today's globalizing economy, workers in the world’s ports can harness their role, at a strategic choke point, to promote their labor rights and social justice causes. Peter Cole brings such overlooked experiences to light in an eye-opening comparative study of Durban, South Africa, and the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Pathbreaking research reveals how unions effected lasting change in some of the most far-reaching struggles of modern times. First, dockworkers in each city drew on longstanding radical traditions to promote racial equality. Second, they persevered when a new technology--container ships--sent a shockwave of layoffs through the industry. Finally, their commitment to black internationalism and leftist politics sparked transnational work stoppages to protest apartheid and authoritarianism. Dockworker Power brings to light surprising parallels in the experiences of dockers half a world away from each other. It also offers a new perspective on how workers can change their conditions and world.
About the speaker:
Peter Cole is a professor of history at Western Illinois University in Macomb and a Research Associate in the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Cole is the author of the award-winning Dockworker Power: Race and Activism in Durban and the San Francisco Bay Area (University of Illinois Press, 2018) and Wobblies on the Waterfront: Interracial Unionism in Progressive-Era Philadelphia (University of Illinois Press, 2007), co-editor of Wobblies of the World: A Global History of the IWW (Pluto Press, 2017), and editor of Ben Fletcher: The Life & Times of a Black Wobbly (Charles H. Kerr Press, 2007).
He is the founder and co-director of the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Commemoration Project (CRR19), a year-long initiative to heighten the 1919 Chicago race riots in the city’s collective memory, engaging Chicagoans in public conversations about the legacy of the most violent week in Chicago history. The Project's 11 dynamic public programs were designed to activate audiences and encourage them to examine the mechanisms through which segregation and inequality have been created, solidified, and reinforced over the past 100 years. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, TIME, The Conversation, the Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg), Africa Is A Country, Jacobin, In These Times, and other outlets.
He tweets from @ProfPeterCole.