Archie Green

Archie Green : The Making of a Working-Class Hero

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Archie Green: The Making of a Working-Class Hero celebrates one of the most revered folklorists and labor historians of the twentieth century. Devoted to understanding the diverse cultural customs of working people, Archie Green (1917-2009) tirelessly documented these traditions and educated the public about the place of workers' culture and music in American life. Doggedly lobbying Congress for support of the American Folklife Preservation Act of 1976, Green helped establish the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, a significant collection of images, recordings, and written accounts that preserve the myriad cultural productions of Americans. Capturing the many dimensions of Green's remarkably influential life and work, Sean Burns draws on extensive interviews with Green and his many collaborators to examine the intersections of radicalism, folklore, labor history, and worker culture with Green's work. Burns closely analyzes Green's political genealogy and activist trajectory while illustrating how he worked to open up an independent political space on the American Left that was defined by an unwavering commitment to cultural pluralism.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 232 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 20.32mm | 362.87g
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252078284
  • 9780252078286
  • 2,154,358

Table of contents

Abbreviations Foreword - David Roediger Introduction: Worker, Scholar, Organizer Part I: Of Shreds and Patches - The Early Political Formation of Archie Green 1. Living Questions: Family, Revolution, and Emigration; 2. Red, Not-So-White, and Blue: Culture, Identity, and Power in 1920s Boyle Heights; 3. Strikes and Stones: Student Politics and Labor in the 1930s Part II: Triangle of Commitments - How 1930s San Francisco Maritime Politics Impacted Green 4. From Berkeley Stacks to Stake-side Trucks; 5. "Brothers Slugging Brothers"; 6. Green's Left Anti-Communist Critiques of Harry Bridges and Reconsiderations of Communist Party History; 7. Green's Pragmatic Path: Union Service and World War II Veterans Organizing Part III: 'A Decent Philosophy' - Green and the Culture and Politics of American Folk Revival 8. Folk Music and the American Communist Party of the 1930s and 1940s; 9. Green's Cultural Turn: Moments in the Making of a Laborlorist; 10. Vernacular Music: Green's Aesthetic Ideology as Cultural Pluralism Part IV: 'Always on Stolen Time' - Green's Influence on Folklore, Labor History, and Cultural Studies 11. Laborlore: Alternative Popular Front Imaginary; 12. Green's Place in New Labor History and American Cultural Studies; 13. Laborlore: Pedagogy of the Working Class Epilogue - Nick Spitzer's Last Interview with Archie Green Acknowledgments; Bibliography; Endnotes; Index; About the Author
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Review quote

"Burns has done a great service by writing Archie Green: The Making of a Working-Class Hero, a fine study that does justice to its subject's fascinating intellectual development and considerable impact."--Labor Studies Journal

"Sean Burns's biography of this remarkable person gives the reader a clear sense of Green's varied life and career and of his many accomplishments. Archie Green made numerous contributions to folklore studies, labor and workplace oral history, and the history of recorded vernacular music. Scholars today would benefit from understanding those topics from this early proponent and practitioner of the "bottom-up" oral history perspective."--Oral History Review "An intimate, first-person account of Green's life that illuminates ideological and strategic links between expressive culture and progressive action. Folklorists, labor historians, discographers, and students and scholars of American culture will treasure this book."--Robert McCarl, editor of Latinos in Idaho: Celebrando Cultura "Burns provides a balanced, fair, and well-informed analysis based on labor scholarship. . . . It is well worth the read."--Labor

"This sophisticated book ushers readers into Archie Green's compelling but always enigmatic presence, vividly and immediately summoning his personal, political, and intellectual pasts. Readers are welcomed into the community of purpose he spent a lifetime creating."--Robert Cantwell, author of If Beale Street Could Talk: Music, Community, Culture
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About Sean Burns

Sean Burns is a teacher, musician, and gardener. His research and teaching interests center on the history, culture, and politics of progressive social movements. His band, Professor Burns and the Lilac Field, is rooted in Berkeley, California.
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