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Living and Dying on the Factory Floor: Book Discussion

Join Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and UIC Great Cities Institute for a book discussion of David Ranney’s most recent publication, Living and Dying on the Factory Floor: From the Outside In and the Inside Out.

David Ranney’s vivid memoir describes his work experiences between 1976 and 1982 in the factories of southeast Chicago and northwest Indiana. The book opens with a detailed description of what it was like to live and work in one of the heaviest industrial concentrations in the world. The author takes the reader on a walk through the heart of the South Side of Chicago. Along the way there is a wildcat strike, an immigration raid, shop-floor actions protesting supervisor abuses, serious injuries, a failed effort to unionize and a murder.

Forty years later, the Ranney returns to Chicago’s South Side to reveal what happened to the communities, buildings and the companies that had inhabited them. Living and Dying on the Factory Floor concludes with discussions on the nature of work; racism, race and class; the use of immigration policy for social control; and our ability to create a just society.

This event is FREE and open to the public. RSVP here.


David Ranney is professor emeritus in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois Chicago. Ranney was a factory worker, a labor and community organizer and an activist academic. He is the author of four books and more than a hundred journal articles, book chapters and monographs on issues of employment, labor and community organizing and U.S. trade policy. His two most recent books are Global Decisions, Local Collisions: Urban Life in the New World Order and New World Disorder: The Decline of U.S. Power. In addition to his writing, he gives lectures on economic policy and politics and also finds time to be an actor and director in a small community theatre.

Image from the cover of Living and Dying on the Factory Floor: From the Outside In and the Inside Out by David Ranney.