My work centers on the intersection of labor history and the struggle for racial justice in societies shaped by white supremacy, particularly the U.S. South (1865-1954) and 20th-century South Africa. My first book, Twice the Work of Free Labor examines the role of convict leasing and chain gangs in the remaking of the American South in the half century after the Civil War. Subsequently, I have written extensively about race relations in the U.S. labor movement, interracial agrarian radicalism, early civil rights struggles, and the impact of anticommunism on the labor and civil rights movements, in both the U.S. and South Africa. I have recently published two books: Margaret Bourke-White and the Dawn of Apartheid, based on a photography exhibited I curated at IU and in South Africa, and Marked, Unmarked, Remembered: A Geography of American Memory, a collaboration with my brother, photojournalist Andrew Lichtenstein. I have two research projects in the works; one,Trouble in Paradise: Labor Radicalism, Race Relations, and Anticommunism in Florida, 1940-1960, explores the interplay of the civil rights and labor movements in Florida during the 1940s. The other examines the history of Black workers and industrial relations in twentieth-century South Africa, and is tentatively entitled Making Apartheid Work.
Professor, Department of History
Adjunct Professor, Department of American Studies
Editor, American Historical Review
Director, Global Living-Learning Center