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Ken Fones-Wolf

Professor of History
Stuart and Joyce Robbins Chair

KFW highres_2

202C Woodburn Hall
P.O. Box 6303
Morgantown, WV 26506-6303
Phone: 304.293.9308
Fax: 304.293.3616

Teaching Fields

  • Appalachia
  • US working class
  • Gilded Age and Progressive Era


  • PhD, Temple University, 1986
  • MA, University of Maryland, 1979
  • BA, University of Maryland, 1973

Research Interests

Elizabeth Fones-Wolf and I just finished a book project titled, Struggle for the Soul of the Postwar South: White Protestants and Operation Dixie (due out from University of Illinois Press in early 2015). This book examines religion’s impact on the most important campaign for unionization in the 20th century South and its implications for contemporary America. As a spinoff, I am doing research on the intersection of religion and class in Appalachia in the twentieth century. This project will compare the role that religion plays in the episodic flow of conflict and accommodation that characterized class relations in Appalachian industries, particularly coal and textiles. I have also just begun a term on the board of the Labor and Working-Class History Association.

Grad Students Advised



  • Brian Smith
  • Allyson Perry

Courses Offered

HIST 250: West Virginia History

HIST 259: United States, 1865-1918

HIST 456: The Gilded Age

HIST 473: Appalachian History

HIST 477: Working Class America

HIST 773: Readings in Appalachian Regional History

HIST 774: Research Seminar in Appalachian Regional History


Struggle for the Soul of the South: White Protestants and Operation Dixie, with Elizabeth Fones-Wolf (University of Illinois Press, forthcoming 2015).

“A Spiritual Turn?,” Foreword for Between the Pew and the Picket Line: Christianity and the Working Classes in Industrial America, ed. C. Cantwell, H. Carter, and J. Drake, under contract with the University of Illinois Press, 2015.

“Ministers with Their Sleeves Rolled up: Business and the Postwar Industrial Chaplain Movement,” with Elizabeth Fones-Wolf, forthcoming in Business History Review.

“Religion, Human Relations, and Union Avoidance in the 1950s: The Electrical Industry’s Southern Strategy and Its Limits,” with Elizabeth Fones-Wolf, Enterprise & Society (March 2012): 154-185.

“West Virginia’s Socialists: Recovering a Radical Working Class,” Foreword for Frederick A. Barkey, The Socialist Party in West Virginia from 1898 to 1920: A Study in Working Class Radicalism (Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2012).

“Embedding Class among the Troops Who Study Southern Religion,” Journal of Southern Religion, v. 13 (2011).

“No Common Creed: White Working-Class Protestants and the CIO’s Operation Dixie,” with Elizabeth Fones-Wolf in Rethinking U.S. Labor History, Donna Haverty-Stack and Daniel J. Walkowitz, eds. (New York: Continuum, 2010), 111-136.

“A House Re-Divided: From Sectionalism to Political Economy in Post-Emancipation West Virginia,” in Echoes of War: The Civil War’s Aftermath in Appalachia, Andrew Slap, ed. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2010).

“The Sacred in the Southern Organizing Drive: Protestant Activists in Operation Dixie,” _Labor: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas (Spring, 2009): 5-32.

Glass Towns: Industry, Labor and Political Economy in Appalachia, 1890-1930s (University of Illinois Press, 2007).

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