The Mahoning Valley knows deindustrialization. For decades, our communities have struggled with the effects of widespread job-loss on our populations, our infrastructure, and our collective consciousness. Most often, the conversation about the long-term consequences of this shift are centered on policy and politics. Sherry Lee Linkon, Professor of English and American Studies at Georgetown University and former co-director of Youngstown State University’s Center for Working Class Studies, believes the legacy of deindustrialization - what she calls its’ “half-life” - is also powerfully revealed in working-class poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and drama, as working-class writers “reflect the importance of memory and the struggle to imagine a different future.”
Linkon’s new book, The Half-Life of Deindustrialization, makes the case that the study of the rich and varied literature of deindustrialization is indeed a valuable, and different, “data set” by which we can grasp the continuing hold of economic restructuring on our daily lives. Linkon’s book examines a wide range of texts from Eminem’s 8 Mile to the works of local authors and activists like Christopher Barzak and Phil Kidd.
Join us as Linkon shares her perspectives on the role of literature on navigating historical change and social and economic transformation.