My research and teaching center on four aspects of 20th century United States history: (1) labor history, particularly the history of American radicalism; (2) regionalism, both the West and the South; (3) race and civil rights history; (4) migration, especially inside the United States.
I am the author of American Exodus: The Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California (awarded the Ray Allen Billington Prize from the OAH and the Annual Book Award from the Pacific Coast Branch of the AHA) and The Southern Diaspora: How the Great Migrations of Black and White Southerners Transformed America (winner of the Philip Taft Labor History Book Prize) . Recent publications include the edited book The Seattle General Strike Centennial Edition, authored by Robert L. Friedheim with an introduction, photo essay, and afterword by James N. Gregory.
Much of my current work focuses on American social movements and the political geography of radicalism. The Mapping American Social Movements Project produces and publishes interactive maps and visualizations about dozens of social movements that have influenced American life and politics during the 20th century, including radical political parties, Black freedom movements, Chicanx/Latinx movements, labor movements, women’s movements, antiwar and environmentalist movements, LGBTQ activism. I develop key observations from the mapping project and a reinterpretation of the history of American radicalism in "Remapping the American Left: A History of Radical Discontinuity," Labor: Studies in Working Class History (May 2020), an essay that began as my presidential address to the Labor and Working-Class History Association.
In addition, I am active in the field of digital and public history, directing a collection of online sites grouped as the Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium. These include the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project and America's Great Migrations Project.
- "Remapping the American Left: A History of Radical Discontinuity" LABOR: Studies in Working-Class History (May 2020), 11-45 Download PDF (546.69 KB)
- Gregory. James N., ed. The Seattle General Strike Centennial Edition by Robert L. Friedheim. Introduction, photo essay, and afterword by James Gregory. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2018. Print.
- Gregory. James. “Left Coast City: The History of a Political Reputation.” Pacific Northwest Quarterly (Spring 2016): 72-86.
- Gregory. James. “A History of Radicals in the Democratic Party.” New Republic (August 3, 2016).
- Gregory. James. “Upton Sinclair’s 1934 EPIC Campaign: Anatomy of a Political Movement.” LABOR: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas. (December 2015), 51-81.
- Gregory. James. “Seattle’s Left Coast Formula.” Dissent. New York: Winter 2015: 36-42.
- Gregory. James. “Paying Attention to Moving Americans: Migration Knowledge in the Age of Internal Migration, 1930s-1970s. ” In Dirk Hoerder and Nora Faires, eds. Migrants and Migration in Modern North America: Cross-Border Lives, Labor Markets. Durham: Duke University Press, 2011. 277-296. Print.
- Gregory. James. "The Second Great Migration: An Historical Overview.” In Joe W. Trotter Jr. and Kenneth L. Kusmer, eds.African American Urban History: The Dynamics of Race, Class and Gendersince World War II. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009. Print
- Gregory, James. Southern Diaspora: How the Great Migrations of Black and White Southerners Transformed America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005. Print.
- Gregory, James. ed. Upton Sinclair's "I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked". Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. Print.
- Gregory, James. American Exodus: The Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. Print.
Research Advised: Graduate Dissertations
- Reagan, Michael. "Capital City: New York in Fiscal Crisis." PhD diss., University of Washington, 2017.
- Quintana, Maria. Contracting Freedom: Race, Empire, and U.S. Labor Importation Programs, 1942-1964. Diss. University of Washington, 2016. Chairs: James Gregory and Moon-Ho Jung.
- Morrow, Alexander. Laboring for the Day: The Pacific Coast and the Economy of Contingent Labor, 1919-1933. Diss. University of Washington, 2015. Chair: James Gregory.
- Kindig, Jessie. War for Peace: Race, Empire and the Korean War. Diss. University of Washington, 2014. Chairs: James Gregory and Moon-Ho Jung.
- Beda, Steven. Landscapes of Solidarity: Timber Workers and the Making of Place in the Northwest, 1900-1964. Diss. University of Washington, 2014. Chair: James Gregory.
- Griffey, Trevor. Black Power's labor politics: the United Construction Workers Association and Title VII law in the 1970s. Diss. University of Washington, 2011. Chair: James Gregory.
- Wycoff, Joseph. The Gilded Cage: Manufacturers' Associations And The Formation Of Capitalist Class-Consciousness in the United States, 1820-1900. Diss. University of Washington, 2009. Chair: James Gregory.
- Bailey, Anna. How Scuffletown became Indian country: political change and tranformations in Indian identity in Robeson County, North Carolina, 1865-1956. Diss. University of Washington, 2008. Chairs: James Gregory and Alexandra Harmon.
Division: United States History
My graduate teaching fields are tailored to the individual interests of students. We will work out precise subject areas and reading lists as we proceed. Subject to those negotiations, students generally choose one of the following concentrations:
Twentieth Century U.S.
I prefer to treat this as a broad field that covers the full chronological sweep of the century. Students will read widely, developing a modest familiarity with the literature on a large number of subjects (including politics, culture, foreign relations, race, gender, labor, region, urban). Depending upon interests, certain issues and time periods will be developed in more depth.
Class, Race, Labor, and Political Economy
This concentration joins the subject of American political economy with those of labor history and race/ethnic formation covering both the 19th and the 20th centuries.
Regions, Migration, Immigration
This concentration explores place and mobility in American history with readings that examine how place identities and regional political economies have been formed and maintained and how migrations (both from abroad and internal) reshape places and people.
- The History Department celebrates recipients of the 2021 William J. Rorabaugh Departmental Service Award - May 27, 2021
- Racist restrictions in old home deeds across Washington state will get expanded scrutiny - May 3, 2021
- A Place for History: Meet Turkiya Lowe ('10), National Park Service Chief Historian - December 9, 2020
- History Behind the Headlines panel discusses crises throughout history in light of COVID-19 - June 9, 2020
- The Year So Far: Department News & Notes for 2018-19 - April 18, 2019
- Ahead of its 100th anniversary, revisiting the Seattle General Strike and the city’s long legacy of organized labor - January 23, 2019
- The deed to your Seattle-area home may contain racist language. Here’s how to fix it. - January 8, 2019
- Department of History Professor James Gregory on the history of 'Redlining' in Seattle. - November 13, 2018
- A Banner Year For Faculty Books - October 19, 2018
- Labor and Working-Class History Association Holds Conference at the UW - July 28, 2017
- Faculty Featured in Local, National News Media - April 24, 2017
- Professor James Gregory Interviewed by KUOW - March 28, 2017
- Letter from the Chair, Spring, 2016 - May 1, 2016
- Excavating Seattle's Past: 2016 History Lecture Series in Retrospect - March 25, 2016
- Digital History Initiative: Mapping American Social Movements Through the 20th Century - March 3, 2016
- James Gregory wins Barclay Simpson Prize - April 26, 2015
- Distinguished Lecturers - July 7, 2014
- Professor James Gregory elected vice-president of the Labor and Working-Class History Association - February 18, 2014
- Prof. James Gregory featured in CNN piece on Washington State and Workers' Rights - February 7, 2014