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Emily E. LB. Twarog

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Contact Information

Campus office: 504 E. Armory, Champaign, IL
Chicago office: 815 W. Van Buren #110, Chicago, IL

Office Hours

By appointment only.
Associate Professor, School of Labor and Employment Relations


Emily E. LB. Twarog is an associate professor of history and labor studies at the University of Illinois’ School of Labor and Employment Relations – Labor Education Program and Co-Director of the Regina V. Polk Women’s Labor Leadership Conference. She earned her doctorate in American History at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a master’s in Labor Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Labor Resource and Research Center. Her book Politics in the Pantry: Housewives, Food, and Consumer Protest in 20th Century America (Oxford University Press, 2017) examines the ways in which housewives in America used food protests as political tools to gain political influence both locally and nationally.

Prof. Twarog is a recipient of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fredrick Burkhardt Fellowship as well as numerous other research grants. She sits on several boards including United Association for Labor Education and the Mother Jones Heritage Project. She is also the Innovations Editor at the Labor Studies Journal and an Editorial Board Member of LaborOnline, the online journal of LAWCHA. 

Emily grew up in New England and after moving around the country settled in the Chicago area in 1999. She spent 15 years in the food service industry as a line cook, drive-thru cashier, assistant pastry chef, bread baker, scone entrepreneur, and server. She was the president of GEO/UAW Local 2322 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a community organizer with the Campaign for Labor Rights and Jobs with Justice, and a member of UNITE HERE Local 1 and a union steward in a downtown Chicago hotel where she worked as a server.  


Research Interests

Prof. Twarog is currently working on a book length project that examines the history of sexual harassment resistance in the US service sector.  In addition to this historical monograph, she is also studying women's leadership development programs in the US and Europe. 


BA, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Women's Studies, 1993

MS, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Labor Studies, 1999

PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago, American History, 2011


Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies, Collaborative Research Grant, 2020-21

American Council for Learned Societies, Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars, 2019-2020 

Arnold O. Beckman Distinction Award, Campus Research Board, University of Illinois, Fall 2018 

European Union Center, Title VI Grant, University of Illinois, January 2019 

Exploratory Research Grant, Hagley Museum and Library, December 2017 

Illinois Women in Leadership Grant, Women and Power: Building a Toolbox for Leadership, Spring 2018 




Awards and Honors

Outstanding Contribution to Labor Education, United Association of Labor Education, April 2019

Olga Madar Award, Chicago Coalition for Labor Union Women, March 2017

Courses Taught

LER 199, "Women Workers in 21st Century" (Spring 2021, Synchronous Online)

LER 130, "US Labor and Working Class History"

LER 320, "Gender, Race, Class, and Work"

LER 410, "Labor and the EU"

Co-Director, Regina V. Polk Women's Labor Leadership Program (a non-credit women's leadership program for women workers in Illinois)

Additional Campus Affiliations

Affiliate Faculty, EU Center

Affiliate Faculty, Women and Gender in Global Perspectives 

Scholar-in-Residence, Newberry Library (Chicago)

Co-Director, Regina V. Polk Women's Labor Leadership Program

Recent Publications


Emily E. LB. Twarog, "Hands Off: The History of Sexual Harassment Resistance in the America Service Sector" (in progress)

Emily E. LB. Twarog and Stephanie Fortado, "Historical Resource Study: Lowell: The Spindle City," (National Park Service, in progress)

Emily E. LB. Twarog, Politics in the Pantry: Housewives, Food, and Consumer Protest in 20th Century America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017)

Book Chapters: 

Emily E. LB. Twarog. ’Hands Off, Pants On’: Historicizing Contemporary Struggles Against Sexual Harassment in the Service Industry,” in Joan Sangster and Jeremy Milloy (eds.) The Violence of Work (University of Toronto Press, 2021).

Emily E. LB. Twarog, “The Polk School: Intersections of Women’s Labor Leadership Education and the Public Sphere” in Dennis Deslippe, Eric Fore-Slocum, and John McKerley (eds.), Civic Labors: Scholars, Teachers, Activists, and Working-Class History (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2016).


Emily E. LB. Twarog, “Ladies Who Lunched and the Battles They Caused,” Reviews in American History 48 (2020), 70-73.

Emily E. LB. Twarog, “The Ghosts of Elections Past, Present, and Future: Gender and Racism in Electoral Politics” Labor Studies Journal, 42(3) 251-54.

Emily E. LB. Twarog, Jennifer Sherer, Brigid O’Farrell, and Cheryl Coney.Labor Education and Leadership Development for Union Women: Assessing the Past, Building for the Future” Labor Studies Journal 41(1) 9-35.