What We Hold in Common
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JANET ZANDY is professor of language and literature at Rochester Institute of Technology. Her books include Calling Home: Working-Class Women's Writings and Liberating Memory: Our Work and Our Working-Class Consciousness.

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What We Hold in Common

An Introduction to Working-Class Studies
Janet Zandy

Edited by Janet Zandy

"Let us imagine what it would be like," writes Janet Zandy at the outset of this ground-breaking volume, "if the history and culture of working-class people were at the center of educational practices. What would students learn?" Among other things, she suggests, "They would understand that culture is created by individuals within social contexts and that they themselves could produce it as well as consume it."

Working-class history and literature have too often been ignored in traditional curricula, have remained invisible in most textbooks, and have been unavailable to students and teachers. Essential reading for all interested in the rapidly growing field of working-class studies, What We Hold in Common offers a combination of primary voices, critical essays, and resources for curriculum transformation. It deepens the understanding of working-class writings, history, culture, and artistic production, while providing literature that captures the material conditions of working-class peoples' lives.

Critical essays place working-class studies in perspective for teacher and student, as scholars in the field write about recovering autobiographies and oral histories, practicing working-class studies, and current and emerging texts and theories. Course syllabi and curriculum materials offer specific strategies and resources for the classroom. What We Hold in Common draws upon the award-winning 1995 volume of Women's Studies Quarterly, a text that was pivotal in the development of working-class studies. This revised and expanded volume forms a core resource in a field which, Zandy insists, should be viewed not "merely as an object of study, [but] as a means of struggle."

"At last, at last, an invaluable, pioneering, source book. It does what you want working-class studies to do—it rouses consciousness."

—Tillie Olsen, author of Tell Me a Riddle and Yonnondio

"This is a wonderful and useful volume. Janet Zandy is a pioneer in working-class studies who has produced a text we can take to our classes, our friends, our families, and our organizations. She and the authors in this book have helped make 'class' an idea whose time has come again. With runaway globalization in society and with hostile corporatization in the university, we need a book like this to strengthen our humanity and our resistance."

—Ira Shor, The Graduate Center, CUNY

"Janet Zandy's exciting collection makes it clear to all that working-class studies is a legitimate field of study, one that moves to empower us all by making us the subjects, rather that the objects, of academic inquiry."

—Lillian S. Robinson, Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University