Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1983
My research and teaching center on four aspects of 20th century United States history: (1) labor history, particularly the history of American radicalism; (2) regionalism, both the West and the South; (3) race and civil rights history; (4) migration, especially inside the United States. In addition, I am active in the field of public history, directing a set of online public history projects focused on the labor and civil rights history of the Pacific Northwest.
The Southern Diaspora: How The Great Migrations of Black and White Southerners Transformed America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005)
Winner of the 2006 Philip Taft Labor History Book Prize
Upton Sinclair. I, Candidate for Governor, and How I Got Licked. Introduction by James N. Gregory (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994)
American Exodus: The Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989) Winner of the 1991 Ray Allen Billington Prize from the Organization of American Historians; winner of the 1990 Annual Book Award from the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association
"Great Migrations, Great Stories, Great History?" Reviews in American History, (March, 2012)
"Paying Attention to Moving Americans: Migration Knowledge in the Age of Internal Migration, 1930s-1970s," Migrants and Migration in Modern North America: Cross-Border Lives, Labor Markets, and Politics in Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the United States, eds. Dirk Hoerder and Nora Faires (Durham: Duke University Press, 2011), 277-96.
"The Second Great Migration: An Historical Overview," African American Urban History: The Dynamics of Race, Class and Gender since World War II, eds. Joe W. Trotter Jr. and Kenneth L. Kusmer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 19-38.
"A City Learns its Civil Rights History while a University Learns New Ways to Engage Students,"Diversity & Democracy (Spring 2008), 16-17�with Trevor Griffey
"Teaching a City about its Civil Rights History: A Public History Success Story" American Historical Association Perspectives (April 2007)-with Trevor Griffey
"The Southern Diaspora: 20th Century America's Great Migrations," in Repositioning North American Migration History: New Directions in Modern Continental Migration and Citizenship , ed. Marc S. Rodriguez (Rochester: University of Rochester, 2004), 57-90
"The West and the Workers, 1870-1930" in A Companion to the American West, ed. William Deverell (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004), 240-55
"The Dust Bowl Migration," in Poverty in the United States: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, and Policy, eds. Gwendolyn Mink and Alice O'Connor (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2004)
"Upton Sinclair," California Journal 30:11(November 1999), 45-46
"The Great Depression" in National Geographic Society, National Geographic Eyewitness to the 20th Century (Washington DC: The National Geographic Society, 1998), 122-131
"Southernizing the American Working Class: Post War Episodes of Regional and Class Transformation,"Labor History 39 (May 1998). A Labor History Forum article with comments by Thomas Sugrue, Grace Elizabeth Hale, and Alex Lichtenstein, and response by author.
"Slouching Through the Great Depression: Kevin Starr and the California Dream Series." Reviews in American History (June 1997): 306-311
"The Shaping of California History" in Major Problems in California History, Sucheng Chan and Spencer C. Olin, editors (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997) 15-27
"The Southern Diaspora and the Urban Dispossessed: Demonstrating the Census Public Use Microdata Samples." Journal of American History 82 (June 1995)
"Okies and the Politics of Plain-Folk Americanism" in Working People of California, Daniel Cornford, ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995) 116-158
Book in Progress
Left Coast Rising: The Making of a Regional Political Tradition
Pacific Northwest Labor and Civil Rights Projects
(a collection of website projects featuring original research as well as oral histories, documents, and photographs. They are directed by James Gregory and sponsored by the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies and the Simpson Center for the Humanities).
Several of the projects are listed below
Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project
Website project explores the history of civil rights organizing in Seattle and western Washington State involving many communities of color and some elements of the labor movement. The project features video interviews with more than 80 civil rights activists.
Strikes! Labor Encyclopedia for the Pacific Northwest
Features hundreds of essays, documents, photographs
The Great Depression in Washington State Project
Explores the economic, political and cultural events of 1930s, featuring articles, photos, documents, film.
Seattle General Strike Project
Explores the history of the 1919 Seattle General Strike, with articles, photos, documents, interviews.
The Labor Press Project
The history and current role of Labor and Radical newspapers in the Pacific Northwest.
Communism in Washington State History and Memory Project
History of Communist Party from 1919-2002, featuring essays, video interviews, photographs and cartoons.