University of Minnesota
American Studies

American Studies' Home Page

David Noble Lecture Archive


Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 7 p.m.
Minnesota History Center
345 Kellogg Blvd W., St Paul

Featuring: Prof. Peter Rachleff, Macalester College labor historian

Presenting: "Hard-Pressed in the Heartland: The Making, Unmaking, and Remaking of Minnesota's Labor Movement in the 20th and 21st Centuries"

From the late nineteenth century to the mid twentieth century working women and men from Scandinavia, southern and eastern Europe, and the east coast of the United States formed labor unions that struggled against some of the world's most powerful corporations. They sought economic security, acceptance as citizens, and social respect through these unions and their participation in the political system. The economy that emerged in the 1980s and 1990s tore apart their world, but it also brought new immigrants from Latin America, Asia, and Africa to the North Star State. These new immigrants are now struggling to reshape their Minnesota universe, and their struggles change the balance of power and the prospects for other Minnesotans. This lecture will tell the story not only of what happened but how to think about the future.


nan enstadFeaturing: Nan Enstad

Presenting: “The Jim Crow Cigarette: Tracing Cultures of Transnational Capitalism Before World War II”

Thursday, April 12, 2007 at 7 p.m.
Minnesota History Center
345 Kellogg Blvd W., St Paul

Today's global market in cigarettes is well known, but few realize that its antecedents go back to the 1890s. This talk explores how the glamorous cigarette built tobacco towns in North Carolina, and how North Carolinians then went to China to market their wares. As a key industry in transnational capitalism, the cigarette industry reveals connections between corporate and individual bodies, labor and consumerism, pleasure and vulnerability in the early twentieth century.

Nan Enstad is an Associate Professor of History and Chican@ and Latin@ Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her B.S. and her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota (1986 and 1993, respectively). Her book, Ladies of Labor, Girls of Adventure: Working Women, Popular Culture and Labor Politics was published by Columbia University Press in 1999. She is working on a book tentatively titled, "The Jim Crow Cigarette: Local and Global Cultures of Tobacco Consumption, 1890-1950."


“Who Speaks for the People? Coming to Terms with American Populist Culture” with David A. Horowitz

April 25, 2006 at 7 p.m.
Minnesota History Center
345 Kellogg Blvd W., St Paul

A U.S. cultural historian discusses the contradictions and pitfalls in compiling The People’s Voice: A Populist Cultural History of Modern America, a new textbook focusing on vernacular creative expression that reflected the experience of ordinary people. Taking examples from Walt Whitman to hip-hop in a survey that embraces popular literature, journalism, popular music, and theater, painting, dance, comedy, film, and TV, Professor Horowitz asks whether it’s possible to visualize a common “people’s culture” and whether such a notion can prove useful in healing America’s culture wars.

Made possible by the Minnesota Historical Society, The Department of American Studies at the University of Minnesota, and the Charles A. Lindbergh Memorial Fund through the Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Foundation.

For more information: (651) 296-6126, TTY (651) 282-6073, or visit the Minnesota Historical Society website.