Participant Info

First Name
Jennifer
Last Name
Luff
Affiliation
Durham University
Website URL
https://www.dur.ac.uk/history/staff/display/?id=11675
Keywords
labor, politics, antiradicalism, surveillance, policing, anticommunism
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

Photo
About Me

I am a historian of politics and labour in the US and the UK, with special interests in the history of working-class conservatism, transnational working-class politics, civil liberties and state repression, and political organizing.

My current research investigates Britain’s secret programme to bar Communists from the interwar civil service. From 1927 through World War II, the British government operated a large-scale initiative to identify suspected Communists and prevent their employment or effect their dismissal from government dockyards, ordnance factories, and scientific establishments. More information about this project can be found in my article “Covert and Overt Operations: Interwar Political Policing in the United States and the United Kingdom” (2017).

My 2012 book Commonsense Anticommunism explored American labour anticommunism, civil liberties, and working-class conservatism in the interwar period. I have also published on workplace theft and the history of American detectives. I have held research fellowships at New York University, University of California, Los Angeles, and the Newberry Library. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

In addition to my academic research, I spent a number of years working as a campaign strategist for American labor unions, including the Service Employees International Union, the AFL-CIO, and the Steelworkers.

 

Recent Publications

“The Anxiety of Influence: Foreign Interference, American Politics, and World War I,” Diplomatic History, 2020 (free link to article)

“Interwar Labor Anticommunism in the United States and United Kingdom,” Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 33, no. 1 (January 2018), 109-133.

“Covert and Overt Operations: Interwar Political Policing in the United States and the United Kingdom,” American Historical Review, vol. 122, no. 3 (June 2017), 727-757  free link to article

Commonsense Anticommunism: Labor and Civil Liberties Between the World Wars (University of North Carolina Press, 2012).

What Works for Workers? Public Policies and Community-Based Solutions for Low-Wage Workers. Co-edited with Stephanie Luce, Joseph McCartin, and Ruth Milkman. (Russell Sage Press, 2014).

“Surrogate Supervisors: Railway Spotters and the Origins of Workplace Surveillance,” in Labor: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas, vol. 5, no. 1, (February 2008), 47-74.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
United Kingdom, United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, Modern, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Politics, World War I, World War II