2022 Writer-in-Residence Public Lecture: ‘What’s the Meaning of Work’

Beginning March 28, the UMass Amherst Department of History will host journalist, editor and biographer Brooke Hauser as the 2022 Writer in Residence. On Thursday, March 31, she will deliver a public lecture titled “What’s the Meaning of Work?”


Brooke Hauser

The lecture will take place from 6–7:30 pm in the Flavin Family Auditorium, Isenberg School of Management room 137. It will also be held over Zoom (registration required). As writer in residence, Hauser will spend the week-long residence in the history department providing guidance on writing for a range of audiences across various platforms and media. She will also meet with students and faculty, visit classes and seminars, and offer tips and resources culminating in her lecture from Ella.

“What’s the meaning of work?” will explore the ever-evolving landscape of work—and the changing mindsets of workers—through a personal lens as well as examples from history, literature, popular culture, and news. Particular attention will be paid to working women, from the original “girl bosses” of the Baby-Sitters Club to the single women who looked to Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown for career advice to the droves of women who left the workforce during COVID-19 and the often-invisible labor of mothers. How can women better support each other and other underrepresented groups in and out of the workplace? What role can men play? And how can we be more thoughtful in talking about caregivers and emotional labor?

A longtime journalist, Hauser formerly edited the Daily Hampshire Gazette newspaper in Northampton, Massachusetts and is currently the assistant arts editor at the Boston Globe. She has reported and written for the New York Times, Allure, Marie Claire, The New Yorker online and the Boston Globe Magazine, among other publications. For several years, she covered the film industry as a writer and editor at Premiere. She is also the author of two nonfiction books: Enter Helen: The Invention of Helen Gurley Brown and the Rise of the Modern Single Woman and The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens. Originally from Miami, Florida, Hauser is a New Englander-in-training.

Each year, with major funding from Five Colleges, Inc., the UMass Amherst History Department brings a writer of national prominence to campus for a week-long residency in order to give focused attention in the department’s graduate training to writing for a range of audiences and to facilitate sustained conversation with widely-read authors whose historical work engages broad public audiences. The residency is organized by the UMass/Five College Graduate Program in History.

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