My research interests are located at the intersection between history, social theory and labour and management studies. Most of my work touches on the following themes: labour migration and social movements, unfree and coerced labour in advanced capitalism, social policy in the age of Fordism, workplace democracy, critical pedagogy.
I am the author of Challenging Global Capitalism: Labor Migration, Radical Struggle, and Urban Change in Detroit and Turin (Palgrave, 2013). I am the co-editor of the book Gramsci: A Pedagogy to Change the World (Springer, 2017). My work as appeared in leading peer-reviewed journals such as American Historical Review, Labor History, International Review of Social History, International Working Class History, Capital&Class and Contemporary European History. My research has also been disseminated in critical online magazines such as Viewpoint and Commonware.
I also have a strong interest in writing for professional and academic pratice. I run writing workshops as part of my teaching portfolio.
I have gained my PhD at University College London, and lectured at Queen Mary, University of London, Università di Palermo, and the University of Edinburgh. I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and of the Royal Historical Society. I am a seminar convenor at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.
Most of my teaching is devoted to develop research students.
I am the Director of Doctoral Programmes in the Business School and in that role I convene researcher training and development session on different methodologies, writing and different aspects of being a doctoral researcher.
I am a supervisor in the DProf (Transdisciplinary). This is a doctoral programme aimed at senior professionals who carry out academic research in their organisation or as part of their professional practice. I currently supervise 16 students and I have seen a few through completion.
II am an enthustiast of digital learning , in particular as applied to adult education in university and in the workplace, and in general the possibilities of learning in a digital, interconnected world.
I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
My current research projects are on:
- coerced and 'unfree' labour practices in the twentieth century United States, in particular in relation to African Americans and immigrant workers
- Workers' autonomy and self-activity in the workplace
- Employee-owned organisations and alternative forms of capitalism
- Pedagogy as a means of political education and change, in particular in relations to thinkers of radical pedagogy like Gramsci and Freire
- An interdisciplinary history of the factory
I hold a Gerda Henkel Research grant for my project on unfree labour in twentieth century United States and I am the co-investigator of a British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship project entitled "Back into the factory: writing theory and practice of the industrial workplace into 21st century history and social theory".
I welcome the opportunity to supervise doctoral candidates researching their candidates in the following areas:
- Modern Slavery and Business
- Industrial Relations
- Global, transnational and comparative Labour Studies
- Precariousness and the labor market; labour migration
- Platform work and the Digital Factory
- Social Theory and Critical Pedagogy
Pizzolato, Nicola (2024) Constructing debt: discursive and material strategies of labour coercion in the U.S. South, 1903-1964. In: Coercion and Wage Labor: Exploring Work Relations through History and Art. UCL Press. (Accepted/In press)
Pizzolato, Nicola (2022) Reconceptualising the factory as plant-ation: Black radicalism and the politics of history in a Detroit automobile plant. Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory . ISSN 1465-4466 (Accepted/In press)
Di Trapani, Maria Chiara and Favretto, Ilaria and Pizzolato, Nicola and Betti, Eloisa (2022) Il lavoro attraverso lo sguardo femminile: la fotografia delle donne in Italia tra ricerca artistica e critica sociale. Sociologia del lavoro (163). pp. 271-280. ISSN 0392-5048
Di Trapani, Maria Chiara and Favretto, Ilaria and Pizzolato, Nicola (2021) Through the female gaze: women and work in Italy since the 1950s. [Exhibition Catalogue]
Pizzolato, Nicola (2020) Amanda Ciafone. Counter-Cola: A Multinational History of the Global Corporation. [Book review]. The American Historical Review , 125 (2). pp. 626-627. ISSN 0002-8762
I hold a Gerda Henkel Research Grant (2018-2020) on "Harvests of Shame: Rural poverty and Unfree Labour in Twentieth Century United States (1933-1964)"
I have recently held a Leverhulme/British Academy small grant, for 2013-2015 for a project on unfree labour called "Unspeakable Brutality: The Struggle Against Peonage in the United States, 1935-1957". I am also the co-investigator of a British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship (2015-19) on "Back into the factory: writing theory and practice of the industrial workplace into 21st century history and social theory" in collaboration with Dr Gorkem Akgoz, Re:Work Institute, Berlin. I have recently gained a research grant for archival study at the JFK Institute, Berlin.
I am a core member and working group lead in WORCK (Worlds of Related Coercions at Work) a COST Action Project that brings together about 60 researchers from around Europe worck.eu
I am the co-convenor of the Italian History seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.