#LaborTalks: America Unaffordable – a Conversation with Alissa Quart

The Workmen’s Circle
247 West 37th St, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10018

“Middle class” is perhaps America’s most cherished identity. For several decades, however, stagnant wages, downsizing, and the increase of temporary work have steadily eroded the purchasing power and living standards of the broad swath of Americans typically defined as middle class. What are the underlying forces and policies that have made “middle-class” living increasingly unattainable or unsustainable?

In #LaborTalks: America Unaffordable – a Conversation with Alissa Quart, Alissa Quart, author of Squeezed: Why our Families Can’t Afford America, will join BISR faculty Suzanne Schneider for a wide-ranging conversation about ideologies of class, changing costs of living, causes of “middle-class” decline, and solutions to the pervasive problem of precarity. How, historically, has “middle class” been constructed notionally and statistically; and what does extreme inequality mean for American perceptions, and self-perceptions, of class? What can be done to reverse the steady decline in the American standard of living?

The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP below. #LaborTalks is co-presented by The Workmen’s CircleThe Sidney Hillman FoundationUnion Communication ServicesDissent Magazine, the Jewish Labor Committee, the DSA Jewish Solidarity Caucus, and The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. A reception will follow the talk.


  • Alissa Quart

    Alissa Quart is the author of four non-fiction books. She also writes the Outclassed column for The Guardian. Alissa’s latest non-fiction book, Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America, was published by Ecco/HarperCollins in June of 2018. The book has appeared on the top ten and best forthcoming books lists’ of Publishers Weekly, The Week, Library Journal and Nylon. Alissa is the Executive Editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a non-profit devoted to commissioning, editing and placing reportage about inequality. She co-founded its current incarnation with Barbara Ehrenreich. You can hear Alissa talking about her work and her ideas here and here. She is a 2018 Columbia Journalism School Alumna of the year. She has also been a Nieman fellow, an Emmy-nominated video writer and producer,  and a professor. She lives with her husband, her young daughter, and their hamster.

  • Suzanne Schneider

    Suzanne Schneider received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the Department of Middle East, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University. A social and cultural historian, her research interests relate to Jewish and Islamic modernism, religious politics in the Middle East, the history of modern Palestine/Israel, secularism, and political identity in post-colonial contexts. She is the author of Mandatory Separation: Religion, Education, and Mass Politics in Palestine (Stanford University Press, forthcoming) and a regular contributor to The Revealer: A Review of Religion and Media.

Event Schedule

Thursday, 6:30-9:00pm
December 13, 2018


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