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Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Office: 5242 BUNCHE HALL
Phone: 310-794-9331
Fax: 310-206-9630
E-mail: higbie@history.ucla.edu

Mailing Address:

UCLA Department of History
6265 Bunche Hall
Box 951473
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1473

Curriculum Vitae

Class Websites


United States social history, labor and working class history, digital humanities and public history

Research Interests

Tobias Higbie is an Associate Professor in the UCLA History Department, and the director of the department's Public History Initiative. He teaches classes on U.S. History, labor and social movement history, labor studies, and digital humanities/history. He is an advisor to the Institute for Research on Labor & Employment and the Labor & Workplace Studies undergraduate minor. Higbie is the author of Indispensable Outcasts: Hobo Workers and Community in the American Midwest, 1880-1930 (2003), and articles on migration, print culture, and working class education. Before coming to UCLA in 2007, Higbie taught labor history and contemporary economics for trade unionists at the University of Illinois, and directed a research center at the Newberry Library in Chicago. He holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Illinois.


Director, Public History Initiative
Faculty Chair, Labor & Workplace Studies

Twitter: @TobiasHigbie

Blog: Bughouse Square

Advisor, UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.

Member, UCLA Faculty Association.

Member, American Federation of Teachers, University Council, AFL-CIO.

Selected Publications

"Heartland: The Politics of a Regional Signifier," Middle West Review, 1(Spring 2014): 81-90. pre-publication copy.

"Five Ideas for Digital Labor History" LaborOnline January 9, 2014.

"Stirring the Pot and Adding Some Spice: Workers Education at the University of California, 1921-1962," IRLE Working Paper.

"Why Do Robots Rebel? The Labor History of a Cultural Icon" in Labor 10:1 (Spring 2013). Read it Here. See more images.

“Unschooled but Not Uneducated: Print, Public Speaking, and the Networks of Informal Working-Class Education, 1900-1940,” pp. 103-125 in Adam R. Nelson and John L. Rudolph, eds., Education and the Culture of Print in Modern America (University of Wisconsin Press, 2010). Read it Here.

Frontier to Heartland: Making History in Central North America (Curator), online exhibit at the Newberry Library, 2010. Presentation slides for "Imagining the Spaces of Central North America" November 17, 2010.

“Between Romance and Degradation: Navigating the Meanings of Vagrancy in North America, 1870-1940,” pp. 250-269 in Augustus Lee Beier and Paul Ocobock, eds., Cast Out: A Global History of Vagrancy. Ohio University Press, 2008.

Outspoken: Chicago's Free Speech Tradition. Curator (with Peter Alter), Newberry Library/Chicago Historical Society exhibit, 2004. Online exhibit.

“Rural Work, Household Subsistence, and the North American Working Class: A View from the Midwest,” International Labor and Working Class History 65(Spring 2004): 50-76.

Indispensable Outcasts: Hobo Workers and Community in the American Midwest, 1880-1930. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003.

“Crossing Class Boundaries: Tramp Ethnographers and Narratives of Class in Progressive Era America,” Social Science History 21:4 (Winter 1997): 559-592.


Lemelson Award for Innovative Digital Projects in Social Research (with Janna Shadduck-Hernandez, Saba Waheed, and Preeti Sharma), UCLA Division of Social Sciences.

Lloyd Lewis Fellow in American History, Newberry Library, 2013-2014.

"Mobile Data Collection Tool for Student Research" UCLA Instructional Improvement Grant (2012).

"Southern California History of Organizing Project," IRLE Course Development Grant (2010).

Research Grant, UC Labor and Employment Research Fund (2008).


Best Article Prize, Labor vol. 10, for "Why Do Robots Rebel."

Allan Sharlin Memorial Award, Social Science History Association, 2004.

Philip Taft Labor History Book Award, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, 2004. Awarded jointly to Indispensable Outcasts and Robert Korstad, Civil Rights Unionism.

Grad Students

Caroline Luce, Alfred Flores, Andrew Gomez.

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