Rachel Batch

Rachel A. Batch, PhD

  • Associate Professor
Media Expertise:
  • Arts & Culture

Affiliated Programs


  • PhD, American Civilization (2000)
    University of Pennsylvania (PA)
  • MA, American Civilization (1993)
    University of Pennsylvania (PA)
  • BA, History and Spanish (1991)
    Carnegie Mellon University (PA)

About Me

In my modern U.S. history courses I aim to connect the past to the present and encourage my students to see history around them. My training is as a social and cultural historian, and I teach students to analyze materials from the past, including historical sources that were written, built, filmed, drawn, spoken, and manufactured. 

In my courses, students investigate these sources, weigh the evidence, draw conclusions, and form persuasive arguments. I also aim to 'expand' the past by asking students to appreciate its diversity, what options were available to most people, and what ideas or processes limited or influenced their choices.

Research Interests

My research interests are immigrants, workers, and working-class cultures in the 20th century U.S. It was as an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University when I learned the value of social history ("history from the bottom up"), the importance of cultural identity, and became fascinated by the histories of immigrants and labor. I focused on both fields in my graduate program at the University of Pennsylvania, and my dissertation took up industrial relations in the coal mining industry, welfare capitalism, and migrations of southern and eastern European immigrants to a 'model' town in western Pennsylvania in Finding Stability in a Company Town: A Community Study of Slickville, Pennsylvania1916-1943

My current research focuses on Croatian Americans during the Great Depression, World War II, and the early Cold War, and just how they used transnational networks to conjure ethnic and class-based activism for economic justice at home (in the U.S.) and for political freedom abroad (in the former Yugoslavia).


  • Batch, Rachel A. "Klub Tito: Croatian Working-Class Ethnics Fight the People's War for Freedom at Home and Abroad." Paper delivered at the LAWCHA/Working-Class Studies Association Joint Conference Fighting Inequality: Class, Race, and Power, Georgetown University, Washington DC, May 2015.
  • Batch, Rachel A. Review, Anthracite Labor Wars Tenancy, Italians, and Organized Crime in the Northern Coalfield of Northeastern Pennsylvania, 1897–1959 by Robert P. Wolensky and William A. Hastie, Sr., for Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 81, no. 4 (Autumn 2014): 540–545.
  • Batch, Rachel A. "The West Virginia Mine War (1920–21)." In Encyclopedia of U.S. Labor and Working-Class History, 3 vols., edited by Eric Arnesen, 1498–1501. New York and London: Routledge, 2007.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

Pennsylvania Historical Association (PHA), Labor and Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA)


  • Faculty Development Award, Widener University, 2015
  • Scholar, NEH Summer Institute, Columbia University, 2014
  • Research Grant, Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota, 2010-2011