Rebekah Chatellier is a first year PhD student in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, UK. Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, she moved to the Washington, DC area post-Hurricane Katrina where she attended George Mason University and obtained her B.A. in Theatre. As an undergraduate she was a successful competitor on the GMU Forensics (Speech) team and active in university theatre productions. After graduating, she taught Theatre and Public Speaking in the public school system before returning home. She, however, stayed connected with GMU, returning every summer as a director of the George Mason Institute of Forensics. Back in New Orleans, she spent a year with AmeriCorps in the school system, worked professionally in local theatre and film productions, ands spent nearly a decade in the tourism industry as a historical narrator and mule-and-carriage driver. In 2018 she earned a Masters of Liberal Arts from Tulane University, in which she focused on Modern History and Ancient Philosophy. Her current research was inspired by her great-grandparents who lived and worked in the small cotton-mill town of Remerton, GA and the stories of the past she grew-up listening to.

Project Statement

The shared history of the United States and the United Kingdom deserve due consideration. The two countries have maintained a close alliance since the ratification of the 1815 Treaty of Ghent, through the victories of the two World Wars, and up to the present day. Not to be overlooked, of course, they also sustain a close trading partnership. I believe by drawing a comparison using oral history methodologies on the decline of the textile industry in both countries, a more comprehensive sociohistorical understanding may be gained. I hope to identify communities that were built solely for the textile industry, investigate what role the companies (if any) may have played in shaping the cultural and moral standards that developed within, and what remains of these communities. I plan to especially focus on the economic and cultural consequences to the deindustrialized blue-collar workforce by conducting oral history interviews to gain insight into their lived experiences. A large percentage of the workforce in textile plants (in both the U.K. and U.S.) were women. Therefore, I expect women’s work and both their standing in the home and in the community to become a concentration in my research. As well as what became of their employment prospects and political persuasion after the decline of the textile industry. Whilst the British and Americans take much delight in their differences, the impact of and response to a common hardship such as the deindustrialization of the textile industry may lead to a better understanding of corresponding ideologies (economic, political, and cultural).