American Working-Class Art and Literature Now

American Working-Class Art and Literature Now

Ever-widening income gaps, a proliferation of workers’ strikes, the expansion of the gig economy—these are just some of the causes, and symptoms, of working-class struggles transforming in the wake of the pandemic. If the pandemic exposed the vulnerability of the global population to climate catastrophe, so too recent workers’ rights movements in the United States and elsewhere have signaled the potential susceptibility of global capitalism to a working class that might be reorganizing, indeed reconstituting, itself in response to the shifting technologies of global capitalism. How, if at all, has “working-class” American art, media, and literature registered these developments and/or participated in them? The panelists on this webinar will speak to the topic from distinct professional and scholarly vantage points as they attempt to define what constitutes working-class art and literature today.


Joseph Entin, Professor of English and American Studies, Brooklyn College

Joseph Entin is the author of Living Labor: Fiction, Film, and Precarious Work (2023) and Sensational Modernism: Experimental Fiction and Photography in Thirties America (2007), and co-editor of four other books, including, with Jeanne Theoharis, Until We’re Seen: Public College Students Expose the Hidden Inequalities of the COVID-19 Pandemic (forthcoming, 2024).

Maceo Montoya, Professor of Chicana/o Studies and English, University of California, Davis

Maceo Montoya is a writer, activist, and visual artist who teaches courses on Chicana/o culture, the novel, creative writing, and community muralism. Montoya has published four works of fiction, including Preparatory Notes for Future Masterpieces (2021), and two works of nonfiction, including Chicano Movement for Beginners (2016), which he wrote and illustrated. Montoya’s paintings, drawings, and prints have been exhibited around the country as well as internationally.

John Marsh, Professor of English, Penn State

John Marsh is the author of four books including Hog Butchers, Beggars, and Bus Boys: Poverty, Labor, and the Making of Modern American Poetry (2011), Class Dismissed: Why We Cannot Teach or Learn Our Way out of Inequality (2011), In Walt We Trust: How a Queer Socialist Poet Can Save America from Itself (2015), and The Emotional Life of the Great Depression (2019). He is also the editor of You Work Tomorrow: An Anthology of American Labor Poetry, 1929-1941 (2007).


Claire Crispen, Graduate Student, Department of English, Penn State

Virtual Event