Emily E. LB. Twarog: The Politics of the Pantry

Join us as Professor Emily Twarog discusses her new book, Politics of the Pantry: Housewives, Food, and Consumer Protest in Twentieth-Century America. Some of the women Professor Twarog spoke with during her research for the book live right in our community. 

"Politics of the Pantry puts breadmakers, not breadwinners, at the center of American women's activism. By capturing the recurrent struggles over food from the 1930s to the 1970s, this beautiful, illuminating study shows how women used their supposedly dependent status as housewives to assert political power and secure a more just, prosperous society. An important revisioning of feminism and feminist history."--Dorothy Sue Cobble, author of The Other Women's Movement

"Politics of the Pantry makes an original and well-researched contribution to the historical literature by examining 'the rise and fall of the housewife, ' not as a private, domesticated figure but as a public, activist figure. By treating the home rather than the workplace as the site of struggle and by depicting consumption rather than production as a central public act, Twarog turns the usual approach of labor history on its head, with thought-provoking implications."--Lawrence Glickman, Cornell University

Emily E. LB. Twarog is currently an assistant professor of history and labor studies at the University of Illinois’ School of Labor and Employment Relations – Labor Education Program and Director of the Regina V. Polk Women’s Labor Leadership Conference. She earned her doctorate in American History at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a master’s in Labor Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Labor Resource and Research Center. Emily is sits on several boards including the Labor and Working Class History Association, Mother Jones Heritage Project, and the Working Women’s History Project. She is also the Innovations Editor at the Labor Studies Journal and an Editorial Board Member of LaborOnline, the online journal of LAWCHA. 

Emily grew up in New England and after moving around the country settled in the Chicago area in 1999. She spent 15 years in the food service industry as a line cook, drive-thru cashier, assistant pastry chef, bread baker, scone entrepreneur, and server. She was the president of GEO/UAW Local 2322 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a community organizer with the Campaign for Labor Rights and Jobs with Justice, and a member of UNITE HERE Local 1 and a union steward in a downtown Chicago hotel where she worked as a server.  She currently lives in Skokie with her husband who organizes workers, two marvelously curious boys who are growing up on the picket line, and one very fluffy dog named Roxi. In 2017, she was elected to the Skokie School District 73.5 for a four year term.

This event is free and open to the public. We ask that you buy the book from The Book Stall in order to enter the book-signing queue.


Event date: 

Sunday, February 18, 2018 - 2:00pm

Event address: 

The Book Stall
811 Elm Street
Winnetka, IL 60093
Politics of the Pantry: Housewives, Food, and Consumer Protest in Twentieth-Century America Cover Image
ISBN: 9780190685591
Availability: Special Order
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - October 13th, 2017

The history of women's political involvement has focused heavily on electoral politics, but throughout the twentieth century women engaged in grassroots activism when they found it increasingly challenging to feed their families and balance their household ledgers.