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Call For Papers- Federal Writers' Project

  • 1.  Call For Papers- Federal Writers' Project

    Posted Mar 17, 2023 08:50 AM

    Please excuse the cross-post. I am posting this in support of a fellow faculty member and co-editor of the proposed volume. Please share with other who may be interested.

    Call for papers - Proposed volume

    Working through the Federal Writers' Project: Labor, Place, Archive, and Representation

    deadline for submissions: May 31, 2023

    This proposed volume of interdisciplinary essays reexamines the New Deal era's Federal Writers' Project (FWP) as a labor project. We are working with a publisher to feature this book, Working through the Federal Writers' Project: Labor, Place, Archive, and Representation, as part of a potential series on the FWP,  on the burgeoning field of FWP studies, and on how FWP studies fits in the larger framework of labor studies. Labor, in this sense, is not a narrow category. It encompasses trade unions, working conditions, labor power, political economy, and the everyday reality of working lives. Identification with labor enabled FWP writers to take a perspective on figures in a landscape that otherwise went unnoticed–men and women, some of them the formerly enslaved, working across industrial, agricultural, and domestic sectors. Instead of treating those figures as objects, many FWP writers promoted them as subjects, makers of democracy in a world threatened then, as now, by the rise of fascism. Many writers in the FWP exchanged revolutionary ideas about anti-racist and pro-labor struggles, creating a body of literature that depicts the diversity of American life while revealing the faultlines of U.S. racism and class division.

    We invite examinations of the FWP archives and life histories housed at the Library of Congress as well as the American Guide Series and literary works by federal writers that consider these primary texts through the lens of labor. How did the FWP capture the voices of working people, both men and women? In what ways did the FWP provide emerging writers, including Black, female, and working-class writers, an opportunity to publish? In what ways did the FWP tacitly elicit stories of work that celebrated narratives of endurance and agency? How did the FWP and its writers navigate and/or embrace anti-racist and pro-labor struggles in the project? 

    Finally, reexamining the FWP as a labor project suggests a parallel between the 1930s and our own moment, in which capitalists squeeze value from the precariously underemployed and overworked. The realities of unpaid/unrecognized labor, including dependent-care/family care and domestic work (either for hire or not), invites a consideration of future representations of work and worker's lives, particularly given the renewed struggle for unionization and emerging multiracial class solidarity today. 

    The editors invite proposals (200-400 word abstracts) for chapters in the range of 5000-7000 words from scholars of American studies, working-class studies, U.S. labor history, ethnic studies, composition studies, and any others that intersect with the study of the FWP. 

    For a fuller description of the CFP, please see



    • for chapter proposals: May 31, 2023

    • for full chapter submission: September 15, 2023


    Send queries and proposals to the co-editors Maureen Curtin and Michele Fazio at fwplabor@gmail.com

    Zachary Vickery
    Senior Assistant Librarian
    SUNY Oswego