Brian Dolber

Working-Class Media and the Struggle for ‘Hegemonic Jewishness,’ 1919-1938

My dissertation explores the relationship between changes in the mass media system and the politics of the U.S. labor movement during the 1920s and 1930s, focusing specifically on the history of media institutions within New York’s Jewish labor movement. As a communications scholar, I have chosen to study media within the Jewish labor movement because, more than any other segment of the U.S. working class during the interwar era, Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe emphasized cultural production as a means towards achieving political goals. Jewish historians and labor historians have argued that this was a result of secular Jewish immigrants’ proclivity towards “social unionism” as a substitute for traditional, religious-based forms of community and identity.1 Little research in the communications discipline, however, has explored the media practices of the Jewish labor movement, and no work has done so systematically. Thus, my dissertation aims to fill this gap, and highlight the importance of the Jewish Left within the history of radical media, while drawing attention to the importance of understanding media to Jewish Studies.