224 W Packer Ave., Bethlehem, PA 18015

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This talk will explore the moral economy forged inside Bethlehem Steel’s flagship mill and experienced by the last
generation of Bethlehem steelworkers. Workers entering the mill in the 1960s and early 1970s walked into what they described as a “different world,” one in which social relations built inside a unionized workplace gave strength to steel workers. This position of power was then eroded by 20 years of deindustrialization, ending in bankruptcy
of the corporation. Steelworkers’ strenuous efforts to hold onto the hard-won benefits of the Fordist era were undermined by the contradictory dynamics of deindustrialization and by the profitable liquidation of corporate
assets. Ultimately, a “new economy” was redefined in the region.

 

Dr. Jill Schennum is a cultural anthropologist and author of the new book, As Goes Bethlehem: Steelworkers and the Restructuring of an Industrial Working Class. She has conducted ethnographic research on ex-steelworkers and processes of deindustrialization in Bethlehem, PA for the past 15 years. She Chairs the Department of Social Sciences at the County College of Morris. She has been engaged in public anthropology in Bethlehem, including
serving as an Officer with the Steelworkers’ Archives.

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