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I grew up in Southern California and attended the University of California at Santa Barbara until I graduated in 2008 with a degree in history. After being told to pursue a higher degree by my adviser, Dr. Harold Marcuse, I was accepted to CSU Pomona, where I obtained my Master's in History in 2010 with a focus on the Communist Party of the United States. My interests in the Communist Party extended from my studies of Cold War history at UCSB, and drove me to understand more about the Party's involvement with specific union organizing efforts during the 1930s. My Master's thesis exposed the connection between the CPUSA and one of their agricultural unions, the United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing and Allied Workers of America (UCAPAWA) and discussed the impact the union made on agricultural unionism in an era where national labor legislation did not protect agricultural workers.
My thesis was welcomed as a special presentation at the 2011 Working-Class Studies Association held in Chicago, where I received positive feedback on my use of agriculture as a field for highlighting the ongoing importance of American Communist history and its ties with the U.S. Labor Movement. Following graduation in 2010, I began to dive actively into collecting oral histories of the CPUSA with the intention of hopefully one day donating it to the special collections at the Walter Reuther Library here at Wayne State. I was advised about Wayne State by my off-campus adviser, Dr. Vicki Ruiz. Over the course of five years, I collected 14 oral histories of current and non-current members of the CPUSA, ranging from its oldest generations to its youngest. After collecting a few testimonies, I sent parts of my work to the North American Labor History Conference here at Wayne State in 2012 to emphasize my desires to expand the available sourcework on CPUSA history as well as deposit the records at the Reuther. To emphasize my point, I presented three of the collected oral histories and showed how their stories unveil a side of American Communist history unavailable in existing scholarly works. I presented again at the NALHC in 2013 to show how quick I had expanded the amount of oral histories.
Currently I am working in the PhD Program at Wayne to utilize my collected oral histories as a means for writing a generational history of the Communist Party in the United States and thus a narrative history of American Communism through the eyes of American Communists. This stands in contrast to existing narratives, which use FBI files and internal Party documents to craft the Party's overall meaning and history. This approach, while useful in understanding the political dimensions of American Communism, does little to show the history of American Communists as people. I am applying for the Graduate Professional Scholarship because it is one of the primary ways for me to continue this project and complete my degree. My oral history project alone has required me to seek out funding to support its ongoing development. The Graduate Professional Scholarship would ensure that whatever funding I have available can be put towards advancing the amount of research done, and ultimately lead to a better overall contribution to the historical record.

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Joshua’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Santa Barbara - Bachelor in Arts, History

Graduate Degree: Wayne State University - Doctor of Philosophy, History


Reading, History debates, Writing, Movies, Gaming

Tutoring Subjects



High School Level American History


Social Studies

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