Joseph E. Hower

Notable Achievements

Visiting Assistant Professor of History Joseph Hower presented two papers at the 40th Annual North American Labor History Conference at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. The first, “Forty Years after Prop 13: The Past, Present, and Future of Public Sector Anti-Unionism,” explored the connection between antitax conservative politics in the 1970s and the recent wave of legal and legislative challenges to government employee unions. The second, “The Memory of Memphis and the (Un)Making of the Modern Public Sector Labor Movement,” examined the way that union activists have used instrumental commemorations of a strike by 1,300 sanitation workers that culminated with the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. over the past half century. Both papers drew on portions of his current book project about public-sector unions in the postwar United States.

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Expertise

U.S. History, Labor and Politics in Modern America, Social Movements, Urban History, Policy History

Joseph E. Hower earned his Ph.D. from Georgetown University in 2013, his M.A. from the University of Virginia (2007), and his B.A. from Saint Joseph’s University (2005) in his (near) hometown of Philadelphia. Before joining the faculty at Southwestern, he was a Visiting Research Associate at Institute for Historical Studies, University of Texas at Austin.

He is currently completing his first book, A Revolution in Government: Jerry Wurf and the Rise of Public Sector Unions in Postwar America, which is under contract with University of Pennsylvania Press for publication in its Politics and Culture in Modern America series. 

  • Joseph E. Hower earned his Ph.D. from Georgetown University in 2013, his M.A. from the University of Virginia (2007), and his B.A. from Saint Joseph’s University (2005) in his (near) hometown of Philadelphia. Before joining the faculty at Southwestern, he was a Visiting Research Associate at Institute for Historical Studies, University of Texas at Austin.

    He is currently completing his first book, A Revolution in Government: Jerry Wurf and the Rise of Public Sector Unions in Postwar America, which is under contract with University of Pennsylvania Press for publication in its Politics and Culture in Modern America series. 

  • Honors & Awards

    • Winner, Harold N. Glassman Dissertation Award in the Humanities, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Georgetown University, 2015
    • Winner, Best Dissertation Prize, Labor History, 2014
    • Nominee, Allan Nevins Dissertation Prize, Society of American Historians, 2014
    • Honorable Mention, Sharabi Prize, Department of History, Georgetown University, 2012
    • Cosmos Club Foundation Young Scholar Award, 2010
    • Dorothy M. Brown Teaching Award, Department of History, Georgetown University, 2009
    • Raymond H. Schmandt Award for Excellence in Medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation Studies, St. Joseph’s University, 2004.

    Grants & Fellowships

    • External
      • Summer Stipend, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2017     
      • Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society, 2015
      • Schlesinger Library Research Grant, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, 2015
      • Research Grant, Friends of the Princeton University Library, 2015
      • Sam Fishman Travel Grant, Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University, 2013
      • Conference Travel Grant, Labor and Working Class History Association, 2011
      • William and Madeline Welder Smith Research Travel Award, Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin, 2011
      • Cosmos Club Foundation Young Scholar Research Award, 2010
    • Internal (past seven years)
      • Competitive Faculty Development Award, Southwestern University, 2018
      • Mellon Foundation Inclusive Pedagogy Teaching Workshop, Southwestern University and University of Texas at Austin, 2017 
      • Competitive Faculty Development Award, Southwestern University, 2017
      • Competitive Faculty Development Award, Southwestern University, 2016
      • Non-Service Fellowship, GSAS, Georgetown University, 2012-2013
      • Royden B. Davis Fellowship, Department of History, Georgetown University, 2011-2012.
  •  Book Chapters

    • “‘A Threshold Moment’: Public Sector Organizing and Civil Rights Unionism in the Postwar South,” in Reconsidering Southern Labor History: Race, Class, and Power, eds. Matthew Hild and Keri Leigh Merritt (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2018), 205-220.

    Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

    • “‘The Sparrows and the Horses’: Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the Family Assistance Plan, and the Liberal Critique of Government Workers, 1955-1977,” Journal of Policy History 28, no. 2 (Spring 2016).
    • “Big Brother Unionism?: The Landrum-Griffin Act and the Fight for AFSCME’s Future, 1961-1964,” Labor: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas 11, no. 2 (Summer 2014): 61-84.
    • “‘Our Conception of Non-Partisanship means a Partisan Non-Partisanship’: The Search for Political Identity in the American Federation of Labor, 1947-1955,” Labor History 51, no. 3 (August 2010): 455-478.

    Other Journal Articles

    • “Marshall’s Principle: A Former Labor Secretary Looks Back (and Ahead),” with Joseph A. McCartin, Labor: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas 11, no. 4 (Winter 2014): 91-107.

    Anthologies and Encyclopedias

    • “Public Sector Unionism,” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American HIstory, eds. John Butler et. al (Forthcoming, Fall 2016). 
      • Selected for republication in The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Urban History, ed. Timothy Gilfoyle (New York: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming).
    • “AFSCME,” “Andy Stern,” “Executive Order 10988,” “Jerry Wurf,” and “Labor Leaders,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Economic, Business, and Labor History, eds. Melvyn Dubofsky, et. al. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

    Reviews

    • Review of Surrogate Suburbs: Black Upward Mobility and Neighborhood Change in Cleveland, 1900-1980, by Todd M. Michney, Journal of American History 104, no. 4 (Mar., 2018), 1067-1068.
    • Review of Smokestacks in the HIlls: Rural-Industrial Workers in West Virginia, by Lou Martin, Journal of Social History 57, no. 1 (Forthcoming, Fall 2017).
    • Review of Struggle for the Soul of the Postwar South: White Evangelical Protestants and Operation Dixie, by Elizabeth Fones-Wolf and Ken Fones-Wolf, in Business History Review (Forthcoming).
    • Review of When Wall Street Met Main Street: The Quest for an Investors’ Democracy, by Julia C. Ott, in New York History: A Quarterly Journal (Forthcoming).
    • Extended Review of Government Against Itself: Public Sector Union Power and Its Consequences, by Daniel DiSalvo, in Reviews in History, no. 1782 (June 2015).
    • “Teacher Strikes and the Rise of Neoliberalism,” Review of “Against the Public: Teacher Strikes and the Decline of Liberalism, 1968-1981,” by Jon Shelton, in Dissertation Reviews, November 4, 2014.
    • Review of AFSCME’s Philadelphia Story: Municipal Workers and Urban Power in the Twentieth Century, by Francis Ryan, in Labor History 53, no. 4 (Winter, 2012): 591-593.
    • Review of Union-Free America: Workers and Antiunion Culture, by Lawrence Richards, in Labour/Le Travail 64 (Fall/Automne 2009): 248-250.

    Columns, Op-Eds, and Other Publications

    • “With Janus, the Supreme Court Guts the Modern Labor Movement,” Made by History Feature, Washington Post, June 27, 2018
    • “Harris v. Quinn Is a Blow to Many Home-Care Workers,” Austin American- Statesman, July 7, 2014, A6.
    • “Fighting for Employee Free Choice,” Labor and Working Class History Association Newsletter (Fall 2008): 3.
    • “Exposing the Anti-Union NLRB,” Labor and Working Class History Association Newsletter (Spring 2008): 3.
  • Invited Talks

    • “‘You’ve Come a Long Way—Maybe’: Pay Equity, Public Workers, and the Transformation of the American Labor Movement, 1972-1985,” Brown Bag Lunch, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
    • “A Revolution in Government: Jerry Wurf, the Rise of AFSCME, and the Fate of American Liberalism,” Brown Bag Lunch, Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University

    Conference Presentations

    • Roundtable, “The 9 to 5 Project,” Social Science History Association, Phoenix, AZ, November 8, 2018
    • “The Memory of Memphis and the (Un)Making of the Modern Public Sector Labor Movement,” North American Labor History Conference, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, October 19, 2018
    • “Forty Years after Prop 13: The Past, Present, and Future of Public Sector Anti- Unionism,” North American Labor History Conference, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, October 18, 2018
    • “The Politics of Work and the Work of Politics: Public Sector Labor and the Tax Revolt at Forty,” Postgraduate and Early Career Network Conference on “The American Moment: Past, Present, and Future,” American Politics Group of the Political Studies Association, University of Reading, UK, July 4, 2018
    • “Betty the Bureaucrat?: Clerical Workers and Comparable Worth in the 1970s,” Organization of American Historians, San Francisco, California, April 13, 2018
    • “‘Every Candidate…Is Running Against Our Union’: AFSCME’s Response to Tax Cut Fever in the Late 1970s,” Labor and Working Class History Association, Seattle, Washington, June 25, 2017
    • “‘A Threshold Moment’: Public Sector Postwar,” Southern Labor Studies Association, Tampa, Florida, March 5, 2017
    • “‘From Something More than More’ to the ‘Dog Days of Liberalism’: AFSCME, Tax Reform, and the Labor-Liberal Crisis of the 1970s,” Presented at the Police History Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, June 1, 2016.
    • “Union Leadership in a Post-Labor Age: Jerry Wurf and the Rise of the Public Sector,” Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Organization of American Historians, Providence, Rhode Island, April 9, 2016.
    • “Public Sector Unions, the Politics of Taxation, and the Crisis of the New Deal Order, 1974-1980,” Presented at the Beyond the New Deal Order Conference, Santa Barbara, CA, September 28, 2015
    • “‘Women Make Sense-Now We Need Dollars’: AFSCME, Pay Equity, and the San Jose Strike, 1972-1981,” Presented at the Labor and Working Class History Association-Working Class Studies Association Conference, Washington, DC, May 2015
    • “‘The Sparrows and the Horses’: Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the Family Assistance Plan, and the Liberal Critique of Government Workers, 1955-1973,” Presented at the Policy History Conference, Richmond, Virginia, Jun. 2012
    • “Public Sector Anti-Unionism in Eras of Austerity: Parallels and Departures in the U.S. Cases of 1978 and 2011,” Presented at a Joint Session of the Goldberg Center for Excellence in Teaching, 126th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, Chicago, Illinois, Jan. 2012
    • “Baltimore’s Strike Summer, 1974: Municipal Workers’ Militancy and the Politics of Urban Services in an Age of Austerity,” Presented at the Labor and Working Class History Association-Southern Labor Studies Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, Apr. 2011
    • “AFSCME and the New Politics at the 1974 Democratic Convention,” Presented at the North American Labor History Conference, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, Oct. 2010

    Campus and Departmental Talks

    • “Why Does it Matter,” EMPIRE Black History Month Panel, Southwestern University, Georgetown TX, February 21, 2018
    • “The National Politics of Local Memory,” at Race & Ethnicity Studies Symposium on Remembering Texas’ Racial History, Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX,  April 6, 2016
    • “The Thatcher-Reagan Era in Trans-Atlantic Perspective,” with Dr. Martin Farr, Newcastle University (UK), at Southwestern University, March 31, 2015
    • “The Dam or the Gate: Memphis and the Making of the Modern Public Sector Labor Movement” at E.B.O.N.Y. Black History Month Event, Southwestern University, February 18, 2015

In the News

  • Southwestern Professor Joseph Hower Receives National Endowment for Humanities Stipend for New Book

    Historian will use $6000 award to fund research trips and writing this summer.