2021 April: Moderator, “Collective Action, the Public Good, and Democracy,” New Social Compact Conference, Kalmanovitz Initiative, Georgetown University

This multi-day virtual convening will bring together activists, academics, faith leaders, policy experts, global labor activists, workers, philanthropists, labor organizations, students, and elected leaders to analyze, evaluate, and propose next-gen solutions for the intersectional issues affecting working people’s lives in a post-pandemic world.

2021 April: “Beyond the Fields: Gender, Labor, and the Public Legacies of Puerto Rican Farm Workers and Needleworkers,” Shade Research Collective Symposium

The collective explores the intersections of labor, identity, mobility, and migration. The collective also leverages their disciplinary expertise to explore traditional and new media platforms for developing narratives around the global circuits of labor that linked tobacco cultivation to broader social and economic networks. SHADE will hold an April 2021 scholarly colloquium on our collaborative work as well as a public reckoning of the past through poetry and public and intergenerational engagement.

2021 February: How ___ Does History, Contingent Magazine

Contingent is a non-profit history magazine. Its writers are adjuncts, museum workers, independent scholars—all people who work outside the tenure-track professoriate. Contingent is rooted in three principles: History is for everyone. Every way of doing history is worthwhile. Historians should be paid for their work.

2021 February: “Women and Global Industrialization: From Puerto Rican Needleworkers to Export Processing Zones,” UK Women’s History Network, London, England

The Women’s History Network is a national association for the promotion of women’s history and the encouragement of women and men interested in women’s history.

2020 November: Catherine Prelinger Award, Coordinating Council for Women in History

The CCWH Prelinger Award is a scholarship of $20,000 awarded to a scholar of excellence. This award, named for Catherine Prelinger, a former CCWH president and nontraditional scholar, is intended to enhance the work of a contemporary scholar whose academic path has not followed the traditional path of uninterrupted study, moving from completed secondary, to undergraduate, then graduate degrees, followed by a tenure-track faculty position. These funds were originally granted to CCWH by an anonymous donor in honor of the work this organization has devoted to exploring women’s history, encouraging opportunities for women in the profession, and in educating young women to pursue careers in history. It’s intended to enhance the ability of the recipient to carry on these traditions through contributions to women in history.

2020 November: Commentary for Springfield Democratic City Committee, Virtual Election Night Coverage

The moderators for Election Night Coverage requested my commentary regarding the significance of unfolding results, particularly for the issues of U.S. workers and global supply chains, reproductive justice, and recent history of presidential politics.

2020 October: Commentary for The Hill, Mother Jones Biography

A reporter for The Hill, a news website based in Washington, D.C., that serves readers interested in federal government and national issues, contacted me for commentary on the labor activist Mother Jones. The piece is part of its Century of the Woman series to celebrate women’s activism, organizing, achievements, and leadership.

2020 April: Lerner-Scott Prize, Organization of American Historians

My project “Creating Norma Rae: The Erasure of Puerto Rican Needleworkers and Southern Labor Activists in a Neoliberal Icon” received the Lerner-Scott Prize for the best doctoral dissertation in U.S. women’s history. The prize committee described it as “a stunningly successful combination of original scholarship, compelling prose, and sophisticated argumentation.” I am so appreciative for all the scholars, librarians, archivists, and friends who supported, guided, and advised me on this project. And I am so appreciative for all the people who have developed and enriched the field of U.S. women’s history.

2019 September: Letter in New Yorker magazine

A commentary on the book review of Timothy C. Winegard’s The Mosquito. I emphasize that the constant demand for slave labor on the sugar plantations, not mosquitoes, shaped Caribbean demographics. Industrialized sugar production with British and French reliance on the Atlantic slave trade created the island populations that were of clear majority African descent.

2019 August: Postdoctoral Fellow, Reproductive Justice History Project, Study of Women & Gender, Smith College

I accepted a position as a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Reproductive Justice History Project. It is an outgrowth of the Gloria Steinem Initiative to bring women’s history and scholarly resources to organizers and activists in meaningful ways. I will assist in creating a digital toolkit of women’s stories and the histories of low-income women, women of color, indigenous and queer women in their resistance and organizing for bodily and gender autonomy, reproductive health, education, rights, and justice over 500 years in the U.S.

2019 June: Labor and Working-Class History Association Conference (LAWCHA), Duke University, Durham

Organized the roundtable Women and Workplace Activism in the Postwar U.S.: Persistent Efforts to Move Systems with six other women scholars. Presented my paper “Organizing While Marginalized: Gloria Maldonado and Lucy Sledge in the Textile and Garment Industry, 1960s-1970s.” The roundtable explored organized activism women have used to demand better conditions for paid labor. Women in the U.S. have always worked, but the number of women entering the workforce increased dramatically after World War II. As they confronted challenges of classism, racial bigotry, gender discrimination, and accelerating globalization, working women pursued organized and institutional means for making claims for fair employment. Our papers covered different methods of organizing, such as established labor unions, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the founding of new worker groups like the Household Technicians of America. All the papers addressed intersections of gender, race, class, and status of the job to examine the workers’ efforts to change their conditions. We offered new approaches to understanding labor activism and the postwar U.S. economy that question the tendency to focus on “deindustrialization” and the declining membership of masculine unions as the primary experiences of American workers in that time period.

2019 May: History of Capitalism Seminar, Newberry Library, Chicago

Crystal Lee Becomes Norma Rae: Making Millions From the Story of a Working Poor Woman. During the 1970s, national media focused on Crystal Lee Jordan as an inspirational southern textile worker. She did not seek the media but participated to advocate for unions. The attention culminated in a 1978 movie production, but the demands of Hollywood business led to an effort to remove her. As Twentieth Century-Fox deployed its resources to end Crystal Lee’s participation, Sally Field’s agent was negotiating a six-figure salary. The title of the screenplay was changed to Norma Rae, which earned $22 million. Although movies cannot be measured for simple accuracy, how the production used this life story reveals capitalist systems of finance and labor in the culture industries. Respondents: Cristina Groeger, Lake Forest College and Michelle Nickerson, Loyola University Chicago

2019 March, Moses Greeley Parker Lecture, Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center

The 1979 movie Norma Rae earned multiple awards and generated a pop icon that people continue to reference. Aimee Loiselle, a historian of women, work, capitalism and culture, will explore the movie as a pop phenomenon that obscured the complex conditions of the global textile and garment industry. Although Norma Rae returned the media spotlight to Crystal Lee Sutton, the inspiration for the movie who used it to call attention to ongoing union organizing by hundreds of mill hands, it was also a studio product intended to make money. Its narrative of an individual woman appealed to American audiences but elided decades of southern labor activism and the vital role of black civil rights activists in the 1960s. The movie’s use of the familiar and sentimental poor white southern mill hand also erased the connected twentieth-century labor and migrations of Puerto Rican needleworkers, fostering skewed notions of a white American working class and simplistic ideas of deindustrialization.

2018-2019: Visiting Assistant Professor, Wesleyan University

I received a joint appointment for the History Department and the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (FGSS) program. My advanced course was “Gender and History: Women Workers, the U.S., and Global Capitalism Since 1900.”

2018-2019: Humanities Institute Dissertation Fellowship, University of Connecticut

To aid emerging fellows, UCHI offers, in collaboration with the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of The Graduate School, a residential graduate dissertation fellowship. Graduate Humanities Scholars receive a full research assistantship to enable dissertation fellows to concentrate solely on completion of their dissertation. Fellows are in continuous residence for the term of the award. They are expected to participate in Institute activities including bi-weekly teas, colloquia, related scholarly events, and offer a public lecture on their research.

2018 May: “Fragmented Archives: Northeastern Millworkers and Puerto Rican Needleworkers in the Same Industry, Different Collections,” Association for the Study of Connecticut History, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, CT

A chance conversation with a colleague led to the realization that Puerto Rican women migrated to the Northeast in the 1960s and 1970s for jobs in old textile and garment factories. That evidence contradicts the dominant historical narrative of the industry “dying” in New England as it relocated in one direction, southward. Puerto Rican women were one interconnected if not interchangeable labor market critical to how a complex global working class coalesced. Documents and oral histories of white and Puerto Rican women workers have been collected in distinct archives, leading to misconceptions about the industry and the development of capitalism. In order to explore such historical relationships, scholars have to acknowledge their specific positionality, the bounded “field of visibility” for their specialty. They can then search for links across archives that have been “disjunctured” by colonial practices or constrained by formal practices of organizing knowledge. Both the Dodd Center at UConn and the Connecticut Historical Society have collections for these women workers that historians can approach in this way.

2018 April: “Homework, Sweatshops, Factories, and Mills: The New South, Puerto Rico, and Labor Markets for Neoliberalism,” Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, Sacramento, CA

2017 November: Humanities in Action Panel, National Humanities Conference, Boston

The second in a series of three joint national meetings that will bring the humanities community together as whole to consider how, by leveraging our strengths, we can achieve broader public impact and showcase the fundamental role the humanities play in addressing both local and global challenges.

2017 October: Boston Seminar on the History of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Radcliffe Institute, Cambridge

“Panel Discussion: Gender, Sexuality, and the New Labor History”

The Boston Seminar on the History of Women, Gender, & Sexuality is a collaboration of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America and the Massachusetts Historical Society. This series, whose five meetings in 2017-2018 will alternate between the Radcliffe Institute and the MHS, aims to seed fresh conversations on the history of women, gender, and sexuality in America without chronological limitations. The October panel looks at the “New Labor History,” which is highly gendered, global, and often situated in spaces that are transitory or obscured. This session will consider the new directions that the path-breaking work of the three scholars indicates.

2017 June: Labor and Working-Class History Association Conference (LAWCHA), University of Washington, Seattle

Presented my paper, “Working the Exemptions: Puerto Rican Needleworkers, Pliable Citizenship, and a Scaffolding for Neoliberalism.”  An outstanding event that brought together scholars from wide-ranging fields, union leaders, worker activists, and adjunct/contingent faculty organizers.

2017: Covenant Insurance Company Summer Fellowship, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, UConn

Funds for CLAS graduate students who demonstrate past academic achievement and the potential for future academic and professional accomplishments.

2017: Caribbean Interdisciplinary Research and Outreach Initiative (CIROI/CI) Summer Research Grant, El Instituto, UConn

These competitive funds will be awarded to applicants whose research project demonstrates scholarly relevance and innovation, provides clear evidence of their project being brought to fruition, and articulate a detailed plan for scholarly dissemination in the future. The project description and its quality of intervention in relevant literatures, methods and theories used, timeline, budget, and evidence of the applicant’s preparedness to complete the project all, are important considerations in the process of assessment.

2017: Humanities in Action Panel – Initiative on Campus Dialogues at the Humanities Institute, UConn

Coordinator and facilitator for a panel of scholars who have brought their humanities knowledge and perspective to community activities. The goal of the panel is to raise awareness of the many ways humanities scholars contribute, participate, and enrich our communities. Such knowledge dissemination outside the academy brings the humanities to many public endeavors.

2016: Oral History Practices & Possibilities – History Department, UConn

Coordinator and facilitator for a panel to present techniques and concerns for gathering oral history interviews for different purposes, such as large archives and grassroots collecting.  Professors Bruce Stave, Fiona Vernal, and Eduardo Canedo presented on their uses and recommendations for building mutual communication, acquiring permissions, and conducting and transcribing interviews with various types of people.

2015: Get OnBoard! Event – OnBoard Springfield

Event planning committee member for OnBoard.  Its mission is to facilitate connections between talented individuals who might not have access to community leadership positions and active organizations around the Pioneer Valley.  Diversifying boards of directors, committees, and volunteers by recruiting members of under-represented populations provides organizations with insight into new and innovative ways to engage with the community at large. OnBoard hopes to foster dynamic relationships for both the individuals and organizations, which each benefit from the shared resources and experience. “Get OnBoard! 2015” took place on October 8 at the Basketball Hall of Fame, connecting local organizations with people of varied backgrounds who want to expand their community involvement.

2015-2016: 100 Years of Women AwardUConn Women’s Center

Established in 1992 to honor a current student who, as a role model or advocate, has advanced the role and contributions of women in society. The student must demonstrate a commitment to women’s issues through service to their community or school.

2015: Research Award, El Instituto – Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies

Predoctoral fellowships to support research in interdisciplinary fields related to the Caribbean or Latin America.

2015 May: Albert E. and Wilda E. Van Dusen Award

In 1983, Professor Van Dusen and his wife, Wilda, established the fund to support meritorious graduate students in any field of history, with a particular emphasis on service.

2014-2015: Special Ad Hoc Committee for the Springfield City Council – Workforce Development

President of the Springfield City Council, Michael Fenton, selected city residents for special ad hoc committees to address key issues in the communities. This committee, chaired by councilor Tim Allen, is developing three approaches to strengthen the workforce: adult basic education and training for under-skilled and unemployed residents, advanced manufacturing training, and connections with local college students to retain them as part of the city.

2014 May: Bruce M. and Sondra Astor Stave Prize in Recent American History

The Department of History at UConn awards this prize annually to an outstanding graduate student in recent American history, particularly with an interest in interviewing people for history projects. The Staves remained active in the field, especially in the collection and preservation of oral history, until Bruce’s passing in 2017.

2014 April: New England Historical Association

As part of the association’s annual conference at Springfield College on April 26, I presented my paper “The Norma Rae Phenomenon: Southern Textile Workers as Raw Material for a Pop Culture Icon” for the Labor History panel. It was nominated for Best Graduate Student Paper of 2014.

2013 November: Film & History Conference: Making Movies–The Figure of Money On and Off the Screen

I presented my paper, “The Norma Rae Phenomenon: Southern Textile Workers as Raw Material for a Pop Culture Icon,” on November 23 in Madison, Wisconsin.  It traces the extraction of the simplified Norma Rae icon from the substantive network of collective resistance to the exploitation in the textile mills. The cultural narrative embedded in the pop icon glorifies the ability of a charismatic individual to overcome entrenched political and economic challenges–but Crystal Lee, “the real Norma Rae,” attempted to reclaim the icon for the working poor who repeatedly organize for better working conditions.

2012 Mentor: Dzanc Books

I joined the Dzanc Creative Writing Mentorships program in 2009. DCWM is an online program designed to allow writers to work one-on-one with published authors to shape their short story, novel, poem, or essay. Participating writers select an available author (like me) from the alphabetical list, then sign up using the form to the right. They will be contacted by Dzanc staff with instructions. When I receive the material from Dzanc, I read the work and provide a written critique. All proceeds benefit the small nonprofit press.

2012 UConn History Department: Ph.D. program

In September, I joined the Ph.D. program in the History Department at UConn-Storrs where I will focus on 20th-century U.S. women’s history. I received an Outstanding Scholars Program fellowship as well as a TA position. Although my writing will once again encompass scholarly research, I will continue with short fiction as I adjust to the new workload.

2012 “Asking the Authors” Interview: ELCAT

The local community access channel requested an interview to discuss my writing, education, and career.  Alexi Cohan is a high school student developing her own skills as a journalist.

2010 Short Story Finalist: Press 53 Open Awards

Press 53 selected “The Tangle of Stems and Light” as a finalist in its annual contest. Press 53 is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and supports literary writing of all types. In addition to showcasing new writers in the Open Awards Anthology, it has a fondness for bringing back great books that are out of print.

2010 Finalist: The Bellwether Prize

Barbara Kingsolver sponsors this prize, and the National Writers United Service Organization managed it. (PEN American Center currently coordinates the contest.) My novel manuscript, Being Good About It, reached the final eight out of hundreds submitted. The prize seeks to support a literature of social responsibility. It promotes literary novels that address issues of social justice and the impact of culture and politics on human relationships.

2010 January: LAByrinth Theater Company Master Class

I was accepted into the Master Class (now the Ensemble Workshop), a five-week program offered by the innovative LAByrinth Theater Company in New York City. Taught by company members, the class is multi-disciplinary and includes work in body, movement, scene study, writing, performing, producing, and most importantly, ensemble building. The class culminates in a presentation of original works written by the students, and my final piece was a comedic scene titled “Getting Hit.” Not to brag, but it earned the following review from Stephen Adly Giurgis, a company playwright and creative director: “That was well-written.”

2009 Honorable Mention Finalist: Glimmer Train

My short story “Three Women Wishing for a Boy” won a spot as an Honorable Mention Finalist in the journal’s Short Story Award for New Writers. The piece made it to the top 5% from over a thousand entries.

2009 Third Place: American Fiction Prize from New Rivers Press

The judge, novelist Clint McCown, selected my story “Souvenirs” for third place from a field of 20 finalists. The story appears in the anthology American Fiction: The Best Previously Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Writers, Volume 11 from New Rivers Press. (Look for American Fiction on Facebook.) Writer’s Digest has twice chosen the anthology as one of the best places in the United States to publish fiction. Available for order at your local independent bookstore, Powell’s, or Amazon.

2008 Semi-Finalist: Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

Amazon Top Reviewers and Editors selected my novel manuscript Being Good About It as a semi-finalist in the general literature category. Publishers Weekly and interested readers provided reviews as part of the process.

2007 Finalist: Rick DeMarinis Short Story Contest

Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts in Durango, Colorado, chose my short story “Happy Sometimes” as a finalist in their annual fiction contest.

2007 December: Letter in Harper’s Magazine

A defense of Jonathan Kozol’s article “The Big Enchilada” and his analysis of for–profit education management organizations (i.e. shareholders making millions from our tax dollars via the privatization of our public school system).

2007 Short List for Finalists: The William Faulkner–William Wisdom Novel Competition

My manuscript Being Good About It was placed on the short list for finalists in this contest sponsored by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society in New Orleans. Judging is solely on the basis of writing talent, use of language, and universality of appeal in content. The precise standard is excellence in the use of the English language and readiness for publication.

2006 November/December: Letter in Poets & Writers Magazine

A response to the featured profile of critic Daniel Mendelsohn and his discussion of narrative nonfiction versus the novel.

2005 Fiction Finalist: The Loft Mentor Series

I was selected as a fiction finalist based on an excerpt from Being Good About It.  The Loft Mentor Series offers advanced criticism and professional development to twelve writers: four each in the genres of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. The emerging writers are selected through anonymous competition to work intensively with six nationally acclaimed authors.

2004: Literary Magazine Review (vol 22)

Review of Square Lake by D.E. Steward

Square Lake, only in its fourth issue, is already a significant magazine and on its way up . . .  [I]n #4, Aimee Loiselle’s ‘Nina’ goes places in the world of the disenfranchised that most of us never see . . .”

2000-2012 Prized Rejections: Handwritten Note or Distinctive Email Message (much thanks to all editors who take the time to release these bubbles of hope into the tsunami of anonymous rejection)
Fugue, Hobart, Iron Horse, 322 Review, Story Quarterly, Versal, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Work, Breakwater Review, Zoetrope, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Feminist Studies, Lilies and Cannonballs, The Open Face Sandwich, The Broken Plate, Peregrine, The Charter Oak Review, Peeks and Valleys, The Redwood Coast Review, and Kalliope.