Jon Shelton

Jon Shelton

Assistant Professor

MAC A324

Jon Shelton teaches and does research on the past and present of working people, unions, jobs, and education in the United States.  His book Teacher Strike! Public Education and the Making of a New American Political Order (2017) tells the story of how the politicization of teachers and their unions in the 1970s helped facilitate the decline of labor-liberalism, clearing the way for the roots of our own political era.  He believes that higher education works best when teachers and students work together to produce knowledge in the classroom.  A devout St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan, he ensures that students in his spring semester courses are well aware of Major League Baseball's opening day, and in the fall semester, of the World Series.

Current Book Project

From Labor-Liberalism to Neoliberalism: Teacher Unions, Education, and the New American Political Order, (working title—under advance contract with University of Illinois Press "The Working Class in American History" Series)


"Letters to the Essex County Penitentiary: David Selden and the Fracturing America," Journal of Social History 48 (Fall 2014)

"Against the Public: The Pittsburgh Teachers Strike of 1975-76 and the Decline of Liberalism," LABOR: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas 10 (Summer 2013). Co-winner of LABOR best article prize for 2012-13


National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Stipend, 2015

Herbert G. Gutman Prize for Outstanding Dissertation of 2013, Labor and Working Class History Association, 2014

Recent Research Presentations

Fighting Inequality: the Joint Annual Conference of the Labor and Working-Class History Association and the Working Class Studies Association, Washington, DC, 2015, May, 2015.

Paper title:"‘Above and Beyond the Law’: Illegal Teacher Strikes and the Crisis of Labor-Liberalism in the 1970s."
Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, St. Louis, MO, Apr, 2015.

Paper title: "Letting the Public School System Die: Fiscal Crisis and the Remaking of Urban Education in the Long 1970s."
Newberry Labor History Seminar, Chicago, IL, Mar. 2015.

Paper Title: "Dropping Dead: Teachers, the New York City Fiscal Crisis and Austerity"
History of Education Society Annual Meeting, Nov. 2014.

Visiting Scholar, Havens Center for the Study of Social Justice, University of Wisconsin Madison, Oct. 2014.
Presentation Titles: "Teachers Strikes, the Public Interest, and the Neoliberal Turn of the 1970s" and " ‘Compulsory Unionism’ in the Public Sector: Free Market Activism and the Eclipse of Labor-Liberalism."


Ph.D. University of Maryland, College Park
M.A. University of Colorado, Boulder
B.A. American University