Paul Silverstein's research explores the history of a cosmopolitan vision of Europe through the lens of the coal mining industry in northern Europe and its post-war recruitment of laborers from (mostly Berber-speaking) Morocco who joined those from Italy, Poland, Greece, and elsewhere in complexly intertwined communities. Mining, as opposed to atomized factory or construction labor in which earlier North African migrants worked, necessitated solidarity and inter-dependence across ethnic or national affiliations, both in the workplace and in the labor union activism that developed across Europe. The paper interrogates the fate of such solidarity in the wake of the mine closures in the 1980s. While many of the miners’ descendants are today active in various kinds of Islamic revivalism and Berber/Amazigh cultural movements, the legacy of this earlier political engagement is still alive for many who, from their current predicament of post-industrial economic precarity, regard such working-class solidarity from a nostalgic perspective.
Free and open to the public.
Sponsored by the Reed anthropology department as part of the Roundtable Symposium Series.
Monday, November 27 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Vollum College Center, 110
3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97202-8199