Rick Halpern

Professor, Department of History;
Affiliated Faculty, CSUS






Rick Halpern is a social historian whose work has focused on race and labour in a number of national and international contexts.  His most recent book-length publication, co-authored with Alex Lichtenstein, is Margaret Bourke-White and the Dawn of Apartheid. He also has written about meat and meatpacking, sugar and plantations, and regionalism.  Currently he is researching the long interplay between photography, race, and class in the Canada and United States over the course of the twentieth century.  He is the Bissell-Heyd Chair of American Studies and, until July 2015, was the Dean and Vice Principal at UTSC.  Prior to that he was the Principal of New College on the St George campus.

research interests

US Social History
Comparative History
Labour and Working Class History


Ph.D University of Pennsylvania, (1989)
M.A. University of Wisconsin, (1983)

awards and distinctions

Andrew Mellon Foundation, John E. Sawyer Seminar, “Globalizing the Americas: World Economies and Local Communities,” 2005
Senior Fellow, Massey College, University of Toronto, elected 2003
Newberry Library Residential Fellowship, 1992

selected publications

“Markets and the Making of Muslim Space in Urban China: Street Portraits from Xi’an’sHuimin Jie, Gastronomica 19:2     (Summer 2019)

“The Back of the Photograph: Making Meaning in the Archives,” Radical History Review 132 (October 2018).

Margaret Bourke-White and the Dawn of Apartheid in South Africa, co-authored book, (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 2016).

“Solving the ‘Labor Problem’: Race, Work, and the State in the Sugar Industries of Louisianaand Natal, 1870-1910,” Journal of Southern African Studies  30:1 (March 2004).

 Down on the Killing Floor: Black and White Workers in Chicago’s Packinghouses, 1904-1954 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997).

“Immigration Policy and the Racialisation of Migrant Labour: The Construction of National Identities in the USA and Britain,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 19:1 (January 1996).

“Organized Labour, Black Workers, and the Twentieth Century South: The Emerging Revision,” Social History 19:3 (October 1994).

Newsletter Signup Sign up for the Munk School Newsletter

× Strict NO SPAM policy. We value your privacy, and will never share your contact info.