Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Central Connecticut State University (CCSU)
Website URL
modern U.S. history, women's history, labor, global capitalism, gender and race, unions and worker organizing, working women, Puerto Rican needleworkers, feminism, women's liberation, popular culture, social movements, reproductive justice
Additional Contact Information
I am available and on campus for 2021-2022. I can do comments or interviews.

Personal Info

About Me

Aimee Loiselle is an assistant professor of history at CCSU. She studies the modern U.S. as a hub for transnational labor and capital with an interest in women workers, gender, and race.  In 2020, Loiselle received the Lerner-Scott Prize from the Organization of American Historians (OAH) and Catherine Prelinger Award from the Coordinating Council for Women in History (CCWH).

Her book manuscript Creating Norma Rae: Southern Labor Activists and Puerto Rican Needleworkers Lost in Reagan’s America focuses on women and migration in the globalizing textile and garment industry. It also analyzes the production and consequences of the movie Norma Rae (1979), with its dominant representation of an isolated white mill hand. This movie generated an iconic image and phrase “going Norma Rae” that have done work to define the white American working class and notions of individualist rebellion. By employing a transnational framework and a cross-disciplinary lens, Creating Norma Rae questions the centrality of white southern mill workers in labor histories, emphasizes the significance of migrating women of color in a long history of global supply chains, and interrogates how culture shapes neoliberal political economy.

Loiselle focuses on working women and their interactions with transnational currents of labor and capital. She studies the ways women workers navigate and resist both their immediate conditions and the larger economic systems in which they work. Loiselle also explores how media images of women workers articulate cultural narratives about work, gender, race, femininity, and sexuality in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Such narratives intersect in potent ways with economic policies, employment practices, and global transformations in capital while often obscuring the experiences, voices, and actions of women workers.

Loiselle is currently a co-facilitator of Scholars for a New Deal for Higher Education (SFNDHE), a group of educators and scholars who believe that a robust and inclusive system of public higher education is a necessary foundation for building a democratic, equitable, healthy, and just society in which all people and communities can thrive. In this capacity, Loiselle was on a team that wrote a brief for Bernie Sanders and Pramila Jayapal’s College for All bill, as part of SFNDHE’s effort to illuminate ties between fair funding, fair tuition, and fair labor. She has also been in communication with union representatives around the country to help build a coalition of all college and university workers.

Recent Publications

Articles and Chapters

“Multiple Contingencies.” Contingent Faculty: A Labor History, University of Illinois Press, The Working Class in American History Series, forthcoming.

U.S. Imperialism and Puerto Rican Needleworkers: Sovereignty, Citizenship, and Women’s Labor in a Deep History of Neoliberal Trade.” International Labor and Working-Class History (Fall 2020): 142-172.

Puerto Rican Needleworkers in Colonial Migrations: Deindustrialization as Pathways Lost,” Journal of Working-Class Studies, Special: Social Haunting, Classed Affect, and the Afterlives of Deindustrialization, (December 2019).

“Austerity Undermines Every Effort at Equity and Justice,” Women, Gender, and Families of Color, Spring 2018.

Selected Nonfiction

Co-author, “Rebuilding Public Higher Education as a Public Good: College for All and Federal Infrastructure Legislation,” congressional brief, SFNDHE, March 2021.

“Mary McCurdy” and “Lucy J. Sprague,” Black Women Suffragists Collection, Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000, Summer 2018.

“International Women’s Day and American Exceptionalism,” Classism Exposed, Class Action, March 2018.

“The Norma Rae Icon: Protest as a Spectacle of the Inspirational Individual,” In Media Res: A Media Commons Project, May 8, 2017.

A Laboratory for Neoliberalism: Puerto Rican Needleworkers,” El Sol Latino, May 2017, 4.

“Mini-Interview Project #42: Aimee Loiselle in Conversation With Grace Smith, Yup’ik Activist.” The Rumpus, May 2011.

Book Reviews

Jack Roper, The Last Orator for the Millhands: William Jennings Bryan Dorn, 1916–2005 (2019), in The Journal of Southern History, May 2020, 537-538.

Lane Windham, Knocking on Labor’s Door: Union Organizing in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide (2017), in Canadian Journal of History, Winter 2019 , 449-451.

Traci Parker, Department Stores and the Black Freedom Movement: Workers, Consumers, and Civil Rights from the 1930s to the 1980s (2019), in Black Perspectives, Fall 2019 .

In Progress

“‘That Certain Stamp of Southern Pride on Their Faces’: Opelika and Norma Rae’s Patina of Authenticity,” preparing for submission.


Mother Jones,” Century of the Woman, The Hill, September 2020.

Selected Fiction

“Ban,” selection for the volume’s Discussion Guide. Ars Medica (Fall 2011): 16-20.

“Happy Sometimes.” Yellow Medicine Review (2011): 95-104.

“Souvenirs.” American Fiction (Moorhead, MN: New Rivers Press, 2010), 45-58.

“He Used to Say Te Quiero Everyday.” Steam Ticket (2010): 10-11.

Media Coverage
Commentary Election Night Watch Event, Hampden County Democratic Party, November 2020; “Mother Jones,” Century of the Woman Series, The Hill, September 2020; “How Aimee Loiselle Does History,” Contingent Magazine, February 2021; “Vox Populi on A
Country Focus
U.S. in transnational context
Expertise by Geography
Caribbean, United States
Expertise by Chronology
7, 8, 9
Expertise by Topic
Capitalism, Colonialism, Economic History, Gender, Higher Ed, Labor, Politics, Race, Women