DMC Associate Professor of History Dr. Mark Robbins interviewed on WWI Centennial News Podcast
Article by: Rosa Linda Reynoso
Interested in history? World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural, economic and social climate of the world.
Recently, Mark Robbins, PhD, associate professor of history with Del Mar College’s Social Sciences Department, was interviewed on the WWI Centennial News: The Doughboy Podcast, the official podcast of the United States World War I Centennial Commission, to discuss his book, Middle Class Union: Organizing the ‘Consuming Public’ in Post-World War I America. He discussed the labor movement during the war and covered the broader context of the political economy during and after the war.
I am honored to have been given the opportunity to be on the United States World War I Centennial Commission podcast. As a historian of the political economy in that era, I was invited on to discuss my book, Middle Class Union, and the war’s transformative impact on the labor movement and the middle class.
Robbins’ interview is found at WWI Centennial News for Sept. 16, 2019 - Episode #140 titled The American Worker & WWI. Robbins’ interview, “Labor Gains & Labor Losses,” begins at 10:05 into the podcast. The link to the podcast is https://bit.ly/2lIlUwu.
In Middle Class Union (University of Michigan Press 2017), Robbins looks at how the idea of a “middle class” emerged in American cities in the early Twentieth Century and revolved around new patterns of consumption. He shows how people who were neither business owners nor laborers found ways to organize to protect their right to affordable food, clothing, shelter and other consumer goods.
Described as “combining social history with interdisciplinary approaches to the study of consumption and symbolic space, Middle Class Union illustrates how acts of consumption, representations of the middle class in literary, journalistic and artistic discourses and ground-level organizing combined to enable white-collar activists to establish themselves as both the middle class and the backbone of the nation.” (Read more about Middle Class Union at http://bit.ly/2yCFfkE)
Robbins adds that the Centennial Commission, created by Congress in 2013, does important work not only to establish a long-overdue National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C., but also to find ways to draw attention to the war’s many legacies. The Commission’s podcast is part of that effort. Additionally, the Centennial Commission plans, develops and executes programs, projects and activities to commemorate the centennial of World War I. The president and leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National World War I Museum, appointed members of the Commission.
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