Justice at Work


This new project takes as its starting point that the humanities ought to more robustly address the rights of workers.

While critical to the history and contemporary practice of human rights, worker’s rights were largely ignored throughout the twentieth century in the paradigms employed by analytical political philosophers, for whom social justice was largely a distributive problem. Having largely rejected a Marxist inspired vocabulary of exploitation and alienation to describe the condition of workers under regimes of private property and the discipline of the market, philosophers failed to engage with the right to strike, the formation of trade unions, and workplace democracy.  

Justice at Work brings together scholars and practitioners working on labor history, labor law, critical theory, and workers’ rights and protections to build new frameworks for theorizing crucial elements of social justice and human rights.

Participating Faculty

Daniel Brudney (Philosophy) and Ben Laurence (Philosophy)

Past Activities

Conference: Justice at Work  |  October 14-15, 2016

This two-day conference brought political philosophers and theorists together to explore issues of worker's rights and justice. The conference was also supported by the Franke Institute for the Humanities.

Related Courses 

Justice at Work | HMRT 22210 (Autumn 2016)
Cross lists: PHIL 21606
Instructor: Ben Laurence (Philosophy)

US Labor History | HMRT 28600 (offered every year)
Amy Dru Stanley (History)

This course explores the history of labor and laboring people in the United States. The significance of work will be considered from the vantage points of political economy, culture, and law. Key topics will include working-class life, industrialization and corporate capitalism, slavery and emancipation, the role of the state and trade unions, race and sex difference in the workplace.