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Introductions

Florence Kelley and the Struggle Against the Degradation of Life: An Introduction to a Selection from Modern Industry

Florence Kelley illuminated how degraded environments stemmed from the social relations and operations of industrial capitalism. As a social reformer, she worked to document the various dangers that workers confronted. She presented how laborers were exposed to noxious gases, toxic substances, and poisonous chemicals and dyes. Dangerous materials, such as arsenic, were introduced into the […]

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Political Economy and the Environmental Crisis: Introduction to Special Issue

According to Frederick Buell (2003) in his book ‘From Apocalypse to Way of Life’, perceptions of environmental crisis in the 1960s and 1970s were both narrower in scope and more apocalyptic (usually Malthusian) in tone than those of today. Rather than diminishing, the problem of the environment has only expanded in the years since Rachel […]

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Land, the Color Line and the Quest of the Silver Fleece: An Introduction to W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk and The Quest of the Silver Fleece

Manning Marable (1999) writes that William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1963) “was without question the most influential black intellectual in American history” (p. v). Even more, he was a citizen of the world, gaining an international stature rarely achieved (Gates, 1989, p. xii). This year is the centennial of The Souls of Black Folk (Du […]

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The Rediscovery of Imperialism

The concept of “imperialism” was considered outside the acceptable range of political discourse within the ruling circles of the capitalist world for most of the twentieth century. Reference to “imperialism” during the Vietnam War, no matter how realistic, was almost always a sign that the writer was on the left side of the political spectrum. […]

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Helen Keller and the Touch of Nature: An Introduction to Keller’s The World I live In

Mark Twain asserted that Helen Keller (1880-1968) was immortal—fellow to Caesar, Homer, and Shakespeare—and would “be as famous a thousand years from now as she is to-day” (Twain, 1924, Vol. 2, p. 297). Elementary school teachers have told the story of Keller’s childhood for more than a hundred years, whereas her activist and intellectual developments […]

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George Perkins Marsh and the Transformation of the Earth: An Introduction to Marsh’s Man and Nature

George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882) stated that his book, Man and Nature, was “a little volume showing the whereas [Carl] Ritter and [Arnold] Guyot think that the earth made man, man in fact made earth” (as cited in Lowenthal, 2000, p. 267). With this position, Marsh inverted a dominant theoretical transformation— both destruction and revitalization— of […]

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“Introduction to Special Issue Commemorating the Twentieth Anniversary of Harry Braverman’s Labor and Monopoly Capital”

It is a measure of the influence of Harry Braverman and radical labor process analysts generally that only two decades after the publication of Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century (1974) it is difficult to recall the absolute confidence with which the orthodox view of work relations was espoused […]

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Introduction

“The discovery of America and that of a passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope,” Adam Smith wrote in 1776 in his Wealth of Nations, the book that more than any other was to mark the birth of liberal political economy, “are the two greatest and most important events recorded in […]

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