Amanda Walter


Contact Information

LA 4234
Mon - Wed 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Thurs: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.


Ph.D., History, Wayne State University, 2019.
M.A., History, Wayne State University, 2013.
B.A., History and Art History, University of Michigan-Dearborn, 2010.

Areas of Expertise

Modern United States


Amanda Walter joined the Department of History in 2019. In 2019, Walter earned her PhD from Wayne State University in Detroit. Her dissertation, “‘I’ve Always Had a Voice. Now I’m Going to Use It!”: The Working Women’s Movement and Clerical Unionism in Higher Education,’ shows how clerical worker, influenced by the working women’s movement and resurgent labor feminism, sought to address their problems through unionization starting in the 1970s. Despite the conflicted history of the labor movement and women’s rights, unions slowly recognized the opportunity to organize women and the largely non-union clerical sector, both to address workers’ needs and to shore up losses. Through an examination of clerical organizing campaigns in higher education, she contends that unions had to adopt new and diverse organizing styles to meet a new constituency of women clericals. The working women’s movement had a tremendous impact on the labor movement’s efforts in this sector, including improving organizing methods, identifying what workplaces would serve as targets for new organizing campaigns, and expanding what issues should be prioritized in campaigns and contracts.

 As a member of an interdisciplinary working group on a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Walter helped analyze existing research on the question of how to increase the civic and political participation of women, especially in developing countries, and the risks women face to participation. This work shows the multitude of barriers women face to civic and political participation due to their gender. The group completed a white paper to support the expansion of efforts to encourage women’s political participation internationally.  

Walter’s currently is working on a collaborative research project on women’s occupational health, focusing on the emergence of the field and fetal protection policies.

Selected Publications:

Walter, Amanda. “Rights and Respect: The Working Women’s Movement’s Influence on Clerical Unionization in the United States.” Journal of Labour and Society 22, no. 2 (2019): 381-397. https://

Walter, Amanda. “Janitor” and “Clerk (Office).” In A Day in the Life of an American Worker: 200 Trades and Occupations in United States History, Volume 2: 1899-present, edited by Nancy Quam-Wickham. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio Press, 2019, forthcoming.

Walter, Amanda, and Elizabeth Faue. “Karen Nussbaum.” In The American Middle Class: An Economic Encyclopedia of Progress and Poverty, edited by Robert Rycroft. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2017.

Eckert, Kristin, Nicole Gerring, Kyu-Nahm Jun, Matt Lacouture, Sharon Lean, Juan Liu, and Amanda Walter. Strengthening Women’s Civic and Political Participation: A Synthesis of the Scholarly Literature. Washington D.C.: United States Agency for International Development, 2017.

Recent Presentations:

“Alliances in Higher Education Organizing: Faculty, Students, and Staff at Cornell University.” Social Science History Association Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois, November 2019.

“Understanding Workplace Risk through a Gendered Lens.” Continuing the Struggle, The International Labor Organization (ILO) Centenary and the Future of Global Workers Rights, Georgetown University, Washington D.C., November 2019.

Management Consultants in the Academy: Clerical Organizing at Boston University.” Labor and Working-Class History Association Conference, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, May/June 2019.

’At Work, At Home, Women Count:’ Jeanne Stellman and the Work of the Women’s Occupational Health Resource Center.” Social Science History Association Annual Conference, Phoenix, Arizona, November 2018.

“‘If Not Now, When?’: Clerical Organizing in Private Universities in the 1970s and 1980s,“ Social Science History Association Annual Conference, Montreal, Quebec, November 2017.

“They Just Use Your Mind, and You Never Get Credit’: 9 to 5’s Impact on the Working Women’s Movement,” North American Labor History Conference, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, October 2017.

“Relationship-Based Organizing: AFSCME’s Clerical Unionization Campaigns at the University of Minnesota,” Labor and Working-Class History Association Conference, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, June 2017.

 “Gender Quotas Bring Risk and Rewards,” Strengthening Women's Civic and Political Participation, Women's History Month Event, President’s Commission on the Status of Women, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, March 2017.