BLHA Branches Conference

2017 Labour History Conference

The 2017 Labour History conference invites academic papers and presentations by labour activists around our theme; and the broader agenda of labour history.


23 – 25 September 2017

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The 15th Biennial Labour History Conference is being held at Emmanuel College within the grounds of the University of Queensland.

Conference theme: Workers of the World

Today, the Australian working class are workers of the world: in the sense that we are a predominantly immigrant working class (or the descendants of relatively recent immigrants); and in the sense that workers from so many of the world’s nations, languages and cultures have made their homes here.

The year 2017 also marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution, which had such a profound impact on the labour movement in every country, not least as a result of its internationalism.

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**Please note that a Special General Meeting of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, and an Editorial Board Meeting of the journal, Labour History, are scheduled from 3:30pm on Friday, 22 September 2017.**


Keynote Speaker
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Keynote Speakers

Ruth Milkmanruth_milkman

Ruth Milkman is one of America’s foremost labour historians. She has written extensively on the struggles of Workers of the World in the United States.

Her 2006 book, L.A. Story: Immigrant Workers and the Future of the U.S. Labor Movement, was a pathbreaking study that documented the role immigrant workers played in transforming the Los Angeles labour movement from a relative backwater into a centre of labour organising.

She has edited two further books looking at immigrant worker organising in Los Angeles: Organizing Immigrants: The Challenge for Unions in Contemporary California (2000) and Working for Justice: The L.A. Model of Organizing and Advocacy (2010, edited with Joshua Bloom and Victor Narro).

She has also written path-breaking studies of Japanese labour relations in the United States, gender at work, women workers and their struggles, the modern New York labour movement and strategies for rebuilding the labour movement, and done so as a labour movement activist as well as a respected academic.

She helped lead a multi-city team that produced a widely publicized 2009 study documenting the prevalence of wage theft and violations of other workplace laws in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, and co-authored a study of California’s paid family leave program, focusing on its impact on employers and workers.

Ruth Milkman is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the City University of New York Graduate Center and Research Director at the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies.

In 2015, she was elected President of the American Sociological Association.

Professor John MaynardProfessor John Maynard

Professor John Maynard is a Worimi Aboriginal man from the Port Stephens region of New South Wales. He is currently a Director of the Purai Global Indigenous and Diaspora Research Centre at the University of Newcastle and Chair of Indigenous History.

His work has described the way that freedom and anti-racist struggles internationally have influenced Aboriginal activism in Australia. John’s celebrated biography of his grandfather, Fred Maynard (Fight for Liberty and Freedom, 2007), tells how working on the wharves led to contact with black and racialised sailors and through them the global world of black and Indigenous writing and rebellion, and in Fred’s case, with the ideas and demands of the Marcus Garvey movement in the United States. When Fred helped found the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association (AAPA) in 1924, its demands for Aboriginal rights to land, preventing Aboriginal children being taken from their families, and defending a distinct Aboriginal cultural identity were shaped by Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).

Conference Enquiries

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