Richard Schneirov

Richard Schneirov (born 1948) is a professor of history and noted labor historian at Indiana State University.

This article is an autobiography or has been extensively edited by the subject or by someone connected to the subject. (December 2019)

. . . Richard Schneirov . . .

Schneirov attended Grinnell College from 1966 to 1968, where he helped found and lead that school’s chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). He also started the underground newspaper “Pterodactyl.” He transferred to the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1971.

He obtained a master’s degree in history in 1975 and a Ph.D. in history in 1984, both from Northern Illinois University.

Schneirov was named a Fulbright Scholar after receiving his doctorate. During the 1985 to 1986 academic year, he lectured at the Institut Fur England und Amerikastudien at the University of Frankfurt in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He returned to Germany in 2011, where he taught at Westfallische Wilhelms-Universitat in Muenster.

In 1986, Schneirov won appointment as an adjunct professor at The Ohio State University.

In 1989, Schneirov was named an assistant professor at Indiana State University. He was promoted to associate professor in 1993, and made a full professor in 1999.

In 2020 Schneirov entered “phased retirement” from Indiana State University. He will teach in the Fall of 2020 and 2021.

Schneirov is a noted scholar of working-class history and of the Gilded Age-Progressive Era. Much of his research has focused on the American labor movement during the Gilded Age. He has also researched the period of the 1960s and 70s, and regularly teaches a class: “The Sixties: Counterculture and Protest.”

Schneirov’s most notable work is his 1998 book, Labor and Urban Politics: Class Conflict and the Origins of Modern Liberalism in Chicago, 1864-97. The work won the Urban History Association’s Kenneth Jackson Award in 1999 for best book in North American urban history. The book is a definitive account of the rise of the Chicago labor movement during the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, the struggle for the eight-hour day, and the Pullman Strike of 1894.

The work is considered a major reinterpretation of Gilded Era history. Schneirov’s thesis is that the American labor movement exerted a profound influence on Chicago and urban politics, and radically transformed liberal and progressive political thought. As noted labor scholar Joseph McCartin observed:

Richard Schneirov has written an ambitious and important book. It is ambitious in that it aims to combine the concerns of labor history and of political history in order to offer a new perspective on both the origins of modern liberalism and the nature of the late nineteenth-century class formation and labor organization. It is important in that Schneirov’s fusion of class and politics yields a set of fresh insights that are likely to engage historians for a long time to come.[1]

In 2006 Schneirov contributed an important article periodizing the Gilded Age: “Thoughts on Periodizing the Gilded Age: Capital Accumulation, Society, and Politics, 1873-1898” and rejoinder to responses by Rebecca Edwards and James L Huston, Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 5 (July 2006): 189-240.

In 2012, Schneirov has published “Chicago in the Age of Capital: Class, Politics, and Democracy during the Civil War and Reconstruction” (with John B. Jentz). The book charts the rise of a capitalist economy and society out of an artisan one and the ensuing political consequences.

In 2014 Routledge published his extended essay and primer on American democracy (with Gaston Fernandez), “Democracy as a Way of Life in America: A History.”

In 2019 Schneirov published a re-interpretation of AFL founder Samuel Gompers in “Uncovering the Contradictions in Samuel Gompers’s ‘More’: Reading ‘What Does Labor Want?” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. Schneirov views Gompers as a leader who tried to bridge diverse discourses and political viewpoints within the late nineteenth century labor movement, rather than simply representing a narrow stratum of craft workers.

Schneirov’s current research agenda focuses on American politics and culture during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.

. . . Richard Schneirov . . .

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. . . Richard Schneirov . . .