The Color Line and the Assembly Line (Paperback)

Managing Race in the Ford Empire (American Crossroads #50)

By Elizabeth Esch

University of California Press, 9780520285385, 280pp.

Publication Date: May 4, 2018

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (5/4/2018)

List Price: 29.95*
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The Color Line and the Assembly Line tells a new story of the impact of mass production on society. Global corporations based originally in the United States have played a part in making gender and race everywhere. Focusing on Ford Motor Company’s rise to become the largest, richest, and most influential corporation in the world, The Color Line and the Assembly Line takes on the traditional story of Fordism. Contrary to popular thought, the assembly line was perfectly compatible with all manner of racial practice in the United States, Brazil, and South Africa. Each country’s distinct racial hierarchies in the 1920s and 1930s informed Ford’s often divisive labor processes. Confirming racism as an essential component in the creation of global capitalism, Elizabeth Esch also adds an important new lesson showing how local patterns gave capitalism its distinctive features. 

About the Author

Elizabeth D. Esch is Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Kansas. She is the coauthor, with David Roediger, of The Production of Difference: Race and the Management of Labor in US History.

Praise For The Color Line and the Assembly Line: Managing Race in the Ford Empire (American Crossroads #50)

"In this exciting contribution to the historiography of the Ford Motor Company, Elizabeth D. Esch reframes a familiar Michigan history topic within historians' rich conversations about race and empire."

— Michigan Historical Review

"Provides a useful starting point for examining Ford’s adaptation of its labor practices to differing national contexts. Historians and historically minded social scientists will find this book to be an accessible, informative, and engaging contribution to the literature about Ford."

— Journal of Interdisciplinary History