Grants & Prizes

LAWCHA Dissertation Proposal Workshop

The Labor and Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA) is pleased to announce its inaugural Dissertation Proposal Workshop. The workshop supports doctoral students working on dissertations about working people, their lives, workplaces, communities, organizations, cultures, activism, and societal context in any period and place.

The dissertation prospectus workshop is intended for students who have not yet defended their dissertation prospectus and newly-minted ABDs. People who defended their dissertation prospectus before December 1, 2023 are ineligible to participate. At the workshop students will receive detailed feedback on their dissertation prospectus from scholars in the field, advice on applying for grants, and have an opportunity to network and share research and writing strategies with the other graduate student participants. The LAWCHA Graduate Student Affairs Committee will select up to ten graduate students to participate in the virtual workshop, which will take place on November 7, 2024 (7PM-10PM EST).

To apply, doctoral students will:

  1. submit a draft dissertation prospectus of up to 2,000 words discussing the significance of their work, their methodology, and the sources to be consulted; and
  2. a curriculum vitae of no more than 2 pages.

All materials should be submitted by email to by October 1, 2024. Please put ‘LAWCHA Dissertation Prospectus Workshop’ in the subject line.

The Alice Kessler-Harris Dissertation Prospectus Award

The Alice Kessler-Harris Dissertation Prospectus Award will be awarded to the best dissertation prospectus about working people, their lives, workplaces, communities, organizations, cultures, activism, and societal context in any period and place. All PhD candidates are eligible to apply.

The Committee will award a cash prize of $500 along with up to $400 in travel expenses to attend the awards ceremony at LAWCHA’s next general meeting in New Orleans at the Organization of American Historians Conference (April 2024).

To apply, submit the following to byJanuary 15, 2024.

  1. A dissertation prospectus of up to 2,000 words discussing the project and the significance of your work to the field, your methodology, and the sources to be consulted.
  2. A curriculum vitae of no more than 2 pages.

Past Winners

  • 2023 Co-Winners: Daniel Morales-Armstrong, “The Promise of Freedom Unfulfilled: Post-Emancipation Labor Conflict in Puerto Rico and Its Impact on the Late Nineteenth-Century Abolition (1873-1888),” University of Pennsylvania; Maia Silber, “A Day’s Work: Casual Employment in Modern America,” Princeton University

LAWCHA/Labor Research Grant

The Labor and Working-Class History Association and Labor: Studies in Working-Class History will jointly award a $2,000 research grant for a contingent faculty scholar, independent scholar, or community college faculty member engaged in work related to working people, their lives, workplaces, communities, organizations, cultures, activism, and societal context in any period and place. If the research results in an article, Labor will have first-right-of-refusal for publication, though publication is not guaranteed.


The intent of this award is to provide financial assistance for a labor history scholar who lacks access to traditional academic support for research. Eligibility is restricted to scholars employed as contingent faculty, including but not limited to adjunct faculty, visiting assistant professors, post-docs, term faculty; independent scholars without a formal academic affiliation; and community college faculty without institutional research support. Those with access to graduate school or other graduate student funds are not eligible.

All applicants must be members of LAWCHA, you can join here. There is a reduced membership rate for contingent faculty and independent scholars.

To Apply:

Please submit the following to by February 1, 2024:

  1. Project description (up to 750 words) indicating the scope of your work, its significance in your field, the specific uses to which you will put the funds, and how you meet the eligibility requirements related to institutional support.
  2. A curriculum vitae of no more than 5 pages.

David Montgomery Award

The David Montgomery Award is given annually by the OAH with co-sponsorship by the Labor and Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA) for the best book on a topic in American labor and working-class history. Eligible works shall be written in English and deal with United States history in significant ways but may include comparative or transnational studies that fall within these guidelines. The award is given in recognition of David Montgomery’s crucial role in pioneering new approaches to the study of working people and their history. David Montgomery was president of the OAH 1999-2000.

Past Winners

  • 2023: Moon-Ho Jung, University of Washington, Menace to Empire: Anticolonial Solidarities and the Transpacific Origins of the US Security State (University of California Press)
  • 2022: Jane Berger, Moravian University, A New Working Class: The Legacies of Public-Sector Employment in the Civil Rights Movement (Univrsity of Pennsylvania Press)
    • Honorable Mention: Gabriel Winant, University of Chicago, The Next Shift: The Fall of Industry and the Rise of Health Care in Rust Belt America (Harvard University Press)
  • 2021: Verónica Martínez-Matsuda, Cornell University, Migrant Citizenship: Race, Rights, and Reform in the U.S. Farm Labor Camp Program (University of Pennsylvania Press)
  • 2020: Eduardo Contreras, Latinos and the Liberal City: Politics and Protest in San Francisco (University of Pennsylvania Press)
    • Honorable Mention: William Sturkey, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White (Harvard University Press
  • 2019: Ana Raquel Minian, Undocumented Lives: The Untold Story of Mexican Migration (Harvard University Press)
  • 2018: Lane Windham, Georgetown University, Knocking on Labor’s Door: Union Organizing in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide (University of North Carolina Press)
  • 2017: Ryan Patrick Murphy, Deregulating Desire: Flight Attendant Activism, Family Politics, and Workplace Justice (Temple, 2016)
  • 2016: Elizabeth Fones-Wolf and Ken Fones-Wolf, West Virginia University, Struggle for the Soul of the Postwar South: White Evangelical Protestants and Operation Dixie (University of Illinois Press)
    • Honorable mention: Lou Martin, Chatham University, Smokestacks in the Hills: Rural-Industrial Workers in West Virginia (University of Illinois Press)
  • 2015: Chantal Norrgard, Independent Scholar, Seasons of Change: Labor, Treaty Rights, and Ojibwe Nationhood (The University of North Carolina Press)
    • Honorable mention: Brian Rouleau, Texas A & M University, With Sails Whitening Every Sea: Mariners and the Making of an American Maritime Empire (Cornell University Press)
  • 2014: Stacey L. Smith, Oregon State University, Freedom’s Frontier: California and the Struggle over Unfree Labor, Emancipation, and Reconstruction (University of North Carolina Press)

Herbert G. Gutman Prize for Outstanding Dissertation

The Labor and Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA) is pleased to announce its annual Herbert G. Gutman Prize for Outstanding Dissertation in U.S. Labor and Working-Class History, established in cooperation with the University of Illinois Press. LAWCHA encourages the study of working people, their lives, workplaces, communities, organizations, cultures, activism, and societal contexts. It aims to promote a diverse and cross-cultural understanding of labor and working-class history. And it encourages innovative, theoretically informed, and interdisciplinary approaches. Transnational and comparative studies rooted in U.S. history are welcomed, as are studies of capitalism in relation to the working-class experience.

The dissertation prize is named in honor of the late Herbert G. Gutman, a pioneering labor historian and a founder of the University of Illinois Press’s Working Class in American History Series. LAWCHA hopes that the spirit of Gutman’s inquiry into the many facets of labor and working-class history will live on through this prize.

The winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000 from LAWCHA along with up to $500 in travel expenses to attend the awards ceremony, and a contract to publish in the Working Class in American History Series. The prize award is contingent upon the author’s acceptance of the contract with the University of Illinois Press.

According to the Working Class in American History editors, the series publishes “research that illuminates the broad dimensions of working people’s influence in North America. We define working-class history capaciously and encourage submissions that explore waged, non-waged, and/or coerced labor, rural and urban settings, and the wide range of labor performed in nonindustrial settings, from agriculture to domestic service and beyond. We welcome consideration of the diverse contexts of the lives of those who work, including legal, political, and ideological aspects, as well as parameters of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion, and immigration. As we seek to enhance understanding of pre-industrial and industrializing worlds, we also explore the new challenges that workers face amidst deindustrialization, globalized production, and an expanding service economy. We particularly seek projects that reflect the mobile, international, and diverse nature of capital and labor and apply a transnational or comparative outlook to the study of the working class. We find compelling work that considers the centrality of working people within the history of capitalism.”

Eligible dissertations must be in English and defended in the academic year 2022–23 (September 1, 2022–October 31, 2023). Dissertations will be considered only in one year’s competition.

Applicants are not required to be members of LAWCHA at the time of the submission. The winner will be announced at the membership meeting in New Orleans at the Organization of American Historians Conference (April 2024).

To apply send two electronic copies of the dissertation (one in pdf and one in Word.doc format) along with a letter from the dissertation advisor confirming the date of the defense (a letter of recommendation is not required). Submissions should also include a cover letter with full contact information: name, professional or home address, email, and telephone.

Entries must be submitted by December 4, 2023 to: with the subject line “Gutman Prize.”

Past Winners

  • 2023 Winner: Jesse Halvorsen, “Moving Goods, Moving America: Labor, Technology, Policy, Development & the Struggle over North America’s Largest Port-Logistics Nexus,” University of California – Santa Barbara
  • 2022 Winner: Yevan Terrien, “Exiles and Fugitives: Labor, Mobility, and Power in French Colonial Louisiana, 1699-1769,” University of Pittsburgh
  • 2021 Winner: Joshua Hollands, “Work and Sexuality in the Sunbelt: Homophobic workplace discrimination in the US South and Southwest, 1970 to the present,” UCL Institute of the Americas
  • 2020 Winner: Eladio Bobadilla, “One People without Borders”: The Lost Roots of the Immigrants’ Rights Movement, 1954-2006,” Duke University
  • 2019 Winner: Alina R. Mendez, “Cheap for Whom? Migration, Farm Labor, and Social Reproduction in the Imperial Valley-Mexicali Borderlands, 1942-1969,” University of California, San Diego
  • 2018 Winner: Nick Juravich for “The Work of Education: Community-Based Educators in Schools, Freedom Struggles, and the Labor Movement, 1953-1983,” Columbia University
  • 2017 Winner: James C. Benton for “Fraying Fabric:  Textile Labor, Trade Politics, and Deindustrialization, 1933-1974.” Georgetown University. Advisor: Joseph McCartin
  • 2016 Winner: Stephen C. Beda, “Landscapes of Solidarity: Timber Workers and the Making of Place in the Pacific Northwest, 1900-1964” University of Washington, 2014
  • 2015 Winner: Jessica Wilkerson, “Where Movements Meet: From the War on Poverty to Grassroots Feminism in the Appalachian South” UNC-Chapel Hill, 2014. Advisor: Jacquelyn Dowd Hall
  • 2014 Winner: Jon Shelton, “Against the Public: Teacher Strikes and the Decline of Liberalism, 1968-1981,” University of Maryland, 2013. Advisor: Julie Greene
  • 2013 Winner: Vilja Hulden for her 2011 University of Arizona dissertation, “Employers, Unite! Organized Employer Reactions to the Labor Union Challenge in the Progressive Era.” Advisor: David Gibbs.
  • 2012 Winner: Marjorie Elizabeth Wood for her 2011 University of Chicago dissertation, “Emancipating the Child Laborer: Children, Freedom, and the Moral Boundaries of the Market in the United States, 1853-1938.” University of Chicago. Advisor: Thomas Holt.
  • 2011 Winner: Jacob Remes, “Cities of Comrades: Urban Disasters and the Formation of the North American Progressive State.” (Duke University, Advisor: Gunther Peck)
  • 2010 Winner: Jessie B. Ramey, “A Childcare Crisis: Poor Black and White Families and Orphanages in Pittsburgh, 1878-1929” Carnegie-Mellon University, Advisor: Tera W. Hunter.
  • 2009 Winner: Michael Rosenow, “Injuries to All: The Rituals of Dying and the Politics of Death among United States Workers, 1877-1910” University of Illinois, Advisor: James R. Barrett.
  • 2008 Winner: Jarod Roll, “Road to the Promised Land: Rural Rebellion in the New Cotton South, 1890-1945” Northwestern University, Advisor: Nancy Maclean.

Philip Taft Labor History Book Award

2023 Award Recipients

Steven Beda, Strong Winds and Widow Makers: Workers, Nature, and Environmental Conflict in Pacific Northwest Timber Country (University of Illinois Press, 2022)

Past Winners

Sonia Hernandez, For a Just and Better World:  Engendering Anarchism in the Mexican Borderlands, 1900-1938 (University of Illinois Press, 2021)

Stephanie Hinnershitz, Japanese American Incarceration:  The Camps and Coerced Labor During World War II (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021)

For information on nominations for the 2021 Prize, please visit the Taft Award website.

For a list of past winners, see the ILR Website about the Taft Prize Past Winners.

Best Article Prize, Labor: Studies in Working-Class History


Jason Resnikoff, “The Paradox of Automation: QWERTY and the Neuter Keyboard” (18:4 Dec. 2021)


Reena N. Goldthree, “A Greater Enterprise than the Panama Canal”: Migrant Labor and Military Recruitment in the World War I-Era Circum-Caribbean” (13:3-4 Fall 2016)


Sarah F. Rose and Joshua A. T. Salzmann, “Bionic Ballplayers: Risk, Profit, and the Body as Commodity, 1964-2007” (11:1- Spring, 2014)


Tobias Higbie, “Why Do Robots Rebel? The Labor History of a Cultural Icon” (10:1 Spring 2013)

Christopher Phelps, “The Closet in the Party: The Young Socialist Alliance, the Socialist Workers Party, and Homosexuality, 1962 – 1970” (10:4 Winter 2013)

Jon Shelton, “Against the Public: The Pittsburgh Teachers Strike of 1975-1976 and the Crisis of the Labor-Liberal Coalition” (10:2 Summer 2013)


William P. Jones, “The Unknown Origins of the March on Washington: Civil Rights Politics and the Black Working Class” (7:3 Fall 2010)


Elizabeth Fones-Wolf and Ken Fones-Wolf, “Sanctifying the Southern Organizing Campaign: Protestant Activists in the CIO’s Operation Dixie”

Conference Travel Grants

The Labor and Working-Class History Association awards competitive travel grants of $400 each to graduate students, contingent scholars, and independent scholars who are presenting at its LAWCHA conference (every other year), at the OAH (in off-years), and the North American Labor History Conference (NALHC). To be eligible, applicants must be members of panels already accepted for the relevant conference program. Each applicant must submit a one-page abstract of the paper to be presented and a c.v. Recipients must join or already be members of LAWCHA. Preference will be given to presenters who have not received travel grants in the past. The LAWCHA Program Committee will announce deadline and submission procedures in advance, and the grants will be distributed at the conference.

Applications for LAWCHA’s 2023 Conference at Rutgers are due February 19, 2023

Info and application: