Colin J. Davis. Professor
(205) 934-8690
Heritage Hall 360J

Research and Teaching Interests: US labor, transnational labor, History of Film: US labor history, the Great Depression, the 1950s

Office Hours: N/A


  • BA, University of Warwick (England), 1981, History/Sociology
  • MA, State University of New York at Binghamton, 1983, History
  • PhD, State University of New York at Binghamton, 1989, History

I was born in England and moved to the US in 1981 to undertake graduate study in US labor history. Up until 1991 I worked and lived in New York City. As with most PhD students I taught adjunct positions throughout the New York metropolitan area — as well as keeping me fed, such teaching assignments prepared me well for a career in history.

In 1991 I arrived in Birmingham to undertake an Assistant Professorship in US labor history. Birmingham is an ideal location for a US labor historian — its vibrant industrial and labor history makes it a perfect incubator for studying workers. Equally intriguing is how race and race relations affect so much of my work. The United Mine Workers Unions (UMW) had long been an interracial union and put to rest any notion that segregation was readily accepted by both whites and blacks as natural. The UMW strived hard to challenge the racial codes of the time, and showed that black and white workers could come together and recognize their mutual interests as workers.

  • Comparative Labor History
  • Historians' Craft
Books: Book Chapters:
  • "Trade Unionism in the Fisheries: A Comparative Analysis of British and United States in the 20th Century," in A History of the North Atlantic Fisheries, Vol 2: From the 1850's to the Early Twentieth-First Century, David Starkey and Ingo Heidbrink, eds. (German Maritime Museum, 2012).


  • "The Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion: A Transnational Comparison of Fishery Regulation in the USA and GB, 1960-1977," Studia Atlantica (2009): 93-104.
  • "Trans-Atlantic Danger: Work and Death Among U.S. and British Trawlermen, 1960-74," International Journal of Maritime History 21 (June, 2009): 153-74.
  • UAB President's Award for Teaching Excellence, College of Arts and Sciences, 2011
  • UAB Caroline Ireland Prize for Scholarly Distinction, 2010
  • Schlesinger Library Oral History Grant, Harvard University, 2012
  • Schlesinger Library Research Grant, Harvard University, 2011
  • New England Regional Consortium Fellowship, 2010
  • ADVANCE Grant, NIH, 2008
  • National Library of Australia, Research Award, 2005 & 2008
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2000