Displaying the Industrial: Toward a Genealogy of Heritage Labor
- Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas
- Duke University Press
- Volume 16, Number 1, March 2019
- pp. 151-170
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Most scholarship on labor relationships within industrial heritage settings has focused on experiences of deindustrialization within economic restructuring of the past few decades, missing the much longer genealogy that shows how contemporary conventions and locations of industrial display can trace their roots to practices that emerged concurrently with industrialism and perhaps with capitalism itself. This article begins to sketch a chronological framework for such an expanded genealogy, considering the production of imagery and ideas surrounding industry very broadly and suggesting lines of continuity and influence among the seemingly distinct sectors of active industry, preservation, and interpretation of defunct industries and among types of display within industrial and postindustrial settings more generally. This longer timeline challenges us to rethink the labor of display as a means of explaining, legitimizing, occasionally challenging, and often repairing the effects of industrial capitalism in its expansive as well as contractive moments.