Assistant Professor
Social Studies Coordinator
History for Secondary Education, Teacher Licensure Certificate
Ebenezer D. Bassett Hall

Aimee Loiselle is an award-winning historian who studies the modern United States as a hub for transnational labor and capital with an interest in women workers, gender, race, and migration. Her research also examines how popular culture obscures the complexities of global labor and makes racialized and gendered meanings for work and wealth. In her recent book, Beyond Norma Rae: How Puerto Rican and Southern White Women Fought for a Place in the American Working Class (University of North Carolina Press, 2023), Loiselle analyzes the movie Norma Rae (1979) in relation to women workers in the textile and garment industry, including their efforts to control representations of their labor and unionizing, as well as their work conditions, in the twentieth century. 

Loiselle earned her secondary social studies license and taught for many years in 9-12 public education and adult basic education before completing her PhD in history. She's also a creative writer who publishes short fiction, personal essays, and blog posts.

Dartmouth College
University of Vermont
University of Connecticut
Secondary Social Studies Education
Dartmouth College
Areas of Expertise

recent U.S. history, women's history, labor and working class history

popular culture, cultural history

women and global capitalism, with race, gender, citizenship, and migration

Publications, Research & Presentations

> Books

Beyond Norma Rae: How Puerto Rican and Southern White Women Fought for a Place in the American Working Class, University of North Carolina Press, 2023.

> Journal Articles and Book Chapters

“Multiple Contingencies.” Contingent Faculty and the Remaking of Higher Education: A Labor History, University of Illinois Press, The Working Class in American History Series, 2024.

“U.S. Imperialism and Puerto Rican Needleworkers: Sovereignty, Citizenship, and Women’s Labor in a Deep History of Neoliberal Trade.” International Labor and Working-Class History 98 (Fall 2020): 142-172.

Puerto Rican Needleworkers and Colonial Migrations: Deindustrialization as Pathways Lost.” Journal of Working Class Studies, Special Issue: Social Haunting, Classed Affect, and the Afterlives of Deindustrialization (Dec 2019): 40-54.

“Austerity Undermines Every Effort at Equity and Justice.” Women, Gender, and Families of Color (Spring 2018): 57-62.

> Book Reviews

Christian O. Paiz, The Strikers of Coachella: A Rank-and-File History of the UFW Movement (2022), in Journal of Agricultural History, forthcoming 2024.

Jack Roper, The Last Orator for the Millhands: William Jennings Bryan Dorn, 1916–2005 (2019), in Journal of Southern History 86 (May 2020): 537-538.

Lane Windham, Knocking on Labor’s Door: Union Organizing in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide (2017), in Canadian Journal of History 54 (Winter 2020): 449-451.

Traci Parker, Department Stores and the Black Freedom Movement: Workers, Consumers, and Civil Rights from the 1930s to the 1980s (2019), in Black Perspectives (Fall 2019):

> Selected Presentations

“Roundtable: Threads of Solidarity with Collegiality and Friendship in Action,” American Studies Association, Montreal, CAN (Nov 2023)

“Roundtable: Community Organizing and Working-Class Power Since the 1950s,” Urban History Association, Pittsburgh, PA (Oct 2023)

“Women of Color and Postwar Worker Activism: Using Federal Agencies to Organize While Marginalized,” Changing Labor Activism: Race, Gender, and Low-Wage Worker Organizing in the Postwar US, Historians of the Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS), UK virtual (June 2023)

“‘Nosotras Trabajamos en la Costura’: Gloria Maldonado and Puerto Rican Needleworkers in Public History Production, 1983-1987,” Labor Histories Across Imperial Sites, Puerto Rican Studies Association, Holyoke, MA (Oct 2022)

“Roundtable: Scholarly Work and the Work of Scholarship in an Age of Contingency,” Organization of American Historians, Boston, MA (March 2022)

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

“Organizing While Marginalized: Gloria Maldonado and Lucy Sledge in the 1970s,” Labor and Working-Class History Association, Duke University, Durham, NC (June 2019)

“Fragmented Archives: New England Millworkers and Puerto Rican Needleworkers in the Same Industry, Different Collections,” Association for the Study of Connecticut History, Hartford, CT (May 2018)

“Homework, Sweatshops, Factories, Mills: The New South, Puerto Rico, and Labor Markets for Neoliberalism,” OAH, Sacramento, CA (April 2018)​

“Gender, Sexuality, and the New Labor History,” Boston Seminar on the History of Women, Gender, & Sexuality, Radcliffe Institute, Cambridge, MA (Oct 2017)

“Working the Exemptions: Puerto Rican Needleworkers, Pliable Citizenship, and a Scaffolding for Neoliberalism,” LAWCHA, University of Washington, Seattle, WA (June 2017)

> Invited Talks

“Women Demand Equity: From Voting Rights to Working Conditions,” East Forest Park Springfield Library (September 2023)

“Colonialism and Puerto Rican Resistance: History and Political Education,” New Britain Racial Justice Coalition (October 2022)

“Why Dobbs v. Jackson?: A History of Reproductive Rights Debates,” Avon Free Public Library (June 2022)

“Colonialism and Capitalism,” Comparative Economics seminar, Western Connecticut State University (April 2022)

“Women in History and Women Historians with Unconventional Career Paths,” Coordinating Council for Women in History (April 2022)

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

“Puerto Rican Needleworkers Are American Workers,” Women’s History Month Series, Holyoke Community College, Holyoke, MA (March 2020)

“From Crystal Lee to Norma Rae: Making Millions Off the Story of a Working Poor Woman,” History of Capitalism Seminar Series, Newberry Library, Chicago, IL (May 2019)

“Creating Norma Rae: Textile & Garment Workers Lost Behind a Pop Icon,” Moses Greeley Parker Lecture, Lowell National Historical Park, Lowell, MA (March 2019)

Norma Rae: From Diverse Women Workers to a Solitary Movie Image,” Chief Diversity Officer Luncheon, Wiggin & Dana Law Firm, New Haven, CT (March 2019)

“Norma Rae Moment: The Triumphant ‘Working Class’ Individual and the Reagan Years,” History Department Lecture, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT (Oct 2018)

> Media

PodcastBeyond Norma Rae, New Books Network (Jan 2024)

Blog postBeyond Norma Rae, Page 99 Test (Dec 2023)

Blog post, “Movies Are Not Mirrors,” UNC Press Blog (Nov 2023)

Awards & Grants

Faculty Fellowship, Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration, Yale University, 2021-2022

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

Lerner-Scott Prize, Organization of American Historians, 2020

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

Research Award, Caribbean Interdisciplinary Initiative, Africana Studies Institute and El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies, UConn, 2017

100 Years of Women Scholarship Award, UConn Women’s Center, 2015-2016

Bruce M. and Sondra Stave Prize in Recent U.S. History, History Department, UConn, 2014

Outstanding Scholars Program Fellowship, History Department, UConn, 2012-2015

Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Vermont, University of Vermont, 1998

Memberships & Affiliations

American Historical Association

Berkshire Conference of Women Historians

Coordinating Council for Women in History

Labor and Working-Class History Association

National Women's Studies Association

Organization of American Historians

Puerto Rican Studies Association

Courses Taught

> Central Connecticut State University

Excellence in Teaching Honor Roll, 2021-2022

United States

   Hip Hop: A Social and Political History

   Working Women, U.S. and Global Capitalism Since 1900

   History and Climate Change

   Age of Fracture: U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s

   U.S. History for Teachers

> Wesleyan University

Gender and History

   Working Women, U.S. and Global Capitalism Since 1900

> Holyoke Community College

United States

   United States to 1865 (online with Moodle)

   United States since 1865 (semester and four-week summer session)

   Hip Hop: A Social and Political History

   U.S. Culture and Foreign Policy in the Middle East Since 1945


   The World Since 1900


   Taínos, Creoles, and Boricuas: Caribbean Identities (LC with a Spanish professor)

   Puerto Rico and the Caribbean