Labor History

Welfare Reform and the Politics of Race: 20 Years Later

By Premilla Nadasen

Twenty years ago this month, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). The act transformed Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), a federal entitlement program for poor single parents and their children, into block grants, or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families with the aim of removing people from the welfare rolls. Passed with bipartisan support, the 1996 act reflected a liberal/conservative consensus around the racialized nature of welfare and the need to encourage work rather than dependency.

AHA Member Spotlight: Alex Zukas

AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, AHA Today features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.

Alex Zukas is a professor at National University, San Diego, California. He lives in San Diego, California, and has been a member since 1991.

AHA Member Spotlight: Michael F. Magliari

AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, AHA Today features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.

Michael F. Magliari is a professor of history at California State University, Chico. He lives in Chico, California, and has been a member since 1990.

18th-century indenture contract, Wikimedia Commons

Transforming the US History Survey with a Focus on Labor in the Atlantic World

By Kimberly D. Hill

About three years ago, I realized I needed to reorganize the first few weeks of my early US history survey course. Following the 13 colonies-centered chronology of the textbook made the course seem too familiar to students and encouraged rote memorization. Still, I worried that too many changes would make the course difficult for freshmen and sophomores to navigate. The Bridging Cultures program gave me the confidence to embrace the challenge of teaching transnationally and offer students alternatives to the standard history texts and narratives.