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 2023-24. 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. Her recent book, Beyond Norma Rae: How Puerto Rican and Southern White Women Fought for a Place in the American Working Class (UNC Press, 2023), analyzes the contested production of the movie Norma Rae (1979) in relation to women workers in the textile and garment industry. Loiselle examines the larger textile and apparel industry and unionizing that served as the foundation for the movie and how Hollywood production extracts what it needs for an individual melodramatic story that effaces the larger history. The history also recovers the efforts of the working women to control representations of their labor and unionizing, as well as their work conditions, in the twentieth century.

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, and femininity 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.

Recent Publications

Articles and Chapters

“Multiple Contingencies.” Contingent Faculty and the Remaking of Higher Education: A Labor History, University of Illinois Press, The Working Class in American History Series, 2024.

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

Portraying Women Workers: Beyond Norma RaeWorld History Commons, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, with the National Endowment for the Humanities (August 2022).

The Link Between 2021’s ‘Stillwater’ and 1979’s ‘Norma Rae’, Made by History, Washington Post (August 2021).

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.

The Rumpus Mini-Interview Project #42: Aimee Loiselle in Conversation with Grace Smith,The (May 2011).

Book Reviews

Christian O. Paiz, The Strikers of Coachella: A Rank-and-File History of the UFW Movement (2022), in Journal of Agricultural History, forthcoming 2024.

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
Podcast, "Beyond Norma Rae," New Books Network (Jan 2024); Blog post, "Beyond Norma Rae," Page 99 Test (Dec 2023); “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
Modern, 20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Capitalism, Colonialism, Economic History, Gender, Higher Ed, Labor, Politics, Race, Women