In preparation for “Slam Precarious Work” on February 14th, a performance of anti-love letters to work and precarity, in celebration of the new issue of WSQ, edited by Alyson Cole and Victoria Hattam, we’d like to share some suggested readings from the issue. 

Included here are links to four articles: 

Cole and Hattam’s introduction to the issue, “What Works?” theorizes the current state of precarious work and describes how contributors to the issue have taken up these issues and their entwinement with the gendering of labor, care, the history of racial oppression in the US, the rise of Trumpism, and the entanglement of domestic work with notions of the family, among many others. 

Inspiring the event, Kathi Weeks’ article "Down With Love” takes up precaritization by applying 1970s feminist critiques of heteronormative love and the exploitation of women and their labor to a recent wave of popular advice literature that encourages workers to fall in love with their jobs.

Kellie Carter Jackson’s “'She Was a Member of the Family’: Ethel Phillips, Domestic Labor, and Employer Perceptions” looks to various interviews about recollections of Jackson’s maternal grandmother, who worked as a domestic servant for over fifty-nine years, in order to unpack the relationships and tensions around love and work in the social and racial hierarchies of domestic labor. 

Laura Y. Liu’s “Ain’t I A Worker?!: Gendered Labor and the Worker as Political Subject in Workers’ Center Organizing” situates discourse on precarious work within a long history of vulnerable employment conditions for women, migrants, and people of color and looks at workers’ center organizing in the early 2000s in New York City. She analyzes how women workers in Chinatown not only organized around the exploitative conditions of their paid work but also extended their organizing work to their unpaid care work. 

These readings are, by no means, required but are offered as context for the event.

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