The Newberry Colloquium

Picturing Knowledge as Power: The Visual Culture of Workers' Education
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

4 pm

Towner Fellows’ Lounge

Tobias Higbie, Lloyd Lewis Fellow in American History, Associate Professor of History at UCLA

During the first half of the 20th century, labor unions, radicals, and reformers in the U.S. launched a surprising array of educational programs aimed at shaping the minds of working class adults. Belief in the old adage that “Knowledge is Power” was a common impulse among street corner speakers, bohemian open forums, labor colleges, radical publishers, and settlement house classes. But if it was easy to conjure up images of power in the age of the locomotive, what did knowledge look like? The labor movement often pictured power as an upraised fist, or a mass of workers marching. But what did powerful knowledge look like for working people as individual members of a social movement? To answer these questions, and to honor May Day, join Lloyd Lewis Fellow Toby Higbie for a visual tour of the iconography of the workers’ education movement.

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