tDAR Logo tDAR digital antiquity

Who is "Free" Today?: Negotiating the documentary record of labor history for archaeology

Author(s): Michael P Roller

Year: 2015

» Downloads & Basic Metadata


Beginning with Marx, labor history was founded upon illuminating the role the working class can play in challenging our system of political economy. As vogelfrei (literally "bird-free") or rightless, unprotected bodies condemned to only sell their labor, the lives of the working class have been imagined to inhabit a kind of empty raw inertia propelling mass social change. Labor history has responded to this basic idea throughout its disciplinary history, changing with material, political, economic and social conditions. Drawing from the example of transhistorical research on immigration and work in Northeast Pennsylvania, I will explore these ideas, drawing possible directions for the field of labor archaeology. I ask the following questions: Who today, if any, occupies this paradoxical role? How can labor history use archaeological data to interpret this idea, drawing from the insights and weaknesses of labor history’s documentations? How can these ideas direct archaeological research on inequality today?

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Cite this Record

Who is "Free" Today?: Negotiating the documentary record of labor history for archaeology. Michael P Roller. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433751)


Temporal Keywords
20th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 175

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America