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 Research Project Lead and a co-Programme Leader for the Doctor in Professional Studies (DProf). 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.
I am the co-organiser of the PhD Research Development Training for the Business School. Overviewing a three-year programme aimed at developing researcher's capabilities in the PhD students.
I am an enthustiast of digital learning methodologies, 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 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 am the co-lead of the Research Cluster "Alternative Organisations and Transformative Practices".
I welcome the opportunity to supervise doctoral candidates researching their area of professional practice. I am also available to supervise Ph.D. candidates researching the labour market, international and internal migration, employment relations and the role of digital technology and big data.
Pizzolato, Nicola (2020) “Once we owned slaves”. Labour and coercion in twentieth century American plantations. Contemporanea. Rivista di storia dell’800 e del ‘900 , 23 (1). pp. 25-52. ISSN 1127-3070 (Accepted/In press)
Akgöz, Görkem and Croucher, Richard and Pizzolato, Nicola (2019) Back to the factory: the continuing salience of industrial workplace history. Labor History . ISSN 0023-656X (Published online first)
Pizzolato, Nicola (2018) Harvests of shame: enduring unfree labour in twentieth century United States (1933-1964). Labor History , 59 (4). pp. 472-490. ISSN 0023-656X
Pizzolato, Nicola (2018) Tactics of refusal: idioms of protest and political subjectivities in Italy's "1968 years". The American Historical Review , 123 (3). pp. 758-763. ISSN 0002-8762
Boud, David and Fillery-Travis, Annette and Pizzolato, Nicola and Sutton, Brian (2018) The Influence of professional doctorates on practice and the workplace. Studies in Higher Education , 43 (5). pp. 914-926. ISSN 0307-5079
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.