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Hands: Physical Labor, Class, And Cultural Work

Hands: Physical Labor, Class, And Cultural Work

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Book DescriptionWhat are two hands worth?

In linking forms of cultural expression to labor, occupational injuries, and deaths, Hands: Physical Labor, Class, and Cultural Work centers what is usually decentered––the complex culture of working-class people. Janet Zandy begins by examining the literal loss of lives to unsafe jobs and occupational hazards. She asks critical and timely questions about worker representation––who speaks for employees when the mills, mines, factories, and even white-collar cubicles shut down. She presents the voices of working-class writers and artists, and discusses their contribution to knowledge and culture.

Zandy also illuminates the relationship between contemporary poets and historical events suchas the Triangle fire, and argues for consideration of Ralph Fasanella as a great narrative painter of the working class. Hands concludes with an imaginative interpretation of how our complex system of technology affects laboring bodies through various speed zones of history, culture, and lived experience.

This path-making book reveals the flesh and bone beneath the abstractions of labor, class, and culture. It is an essential contribution to the emerging field of working-class studies, offering a hybrid model for bridging communities and non-academic workers to scholars and institutions of knowledge.