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William Mello

  • Ph.D.
  • Associate Professor
  • IU Northwest



    (219) 980-6826


    Room 211
    John Anderson Library Conference Center


William Mello was raised in Brazil where he participated in the student and later the labor movement, as an activist in the metalworkers union. After moving to the United States, he worked as an ironworker and was active in his local union, holding various leadership positions. He received a BA in Historical Studies from Empire State College, State University of New York – SUNY(1996), an MA (1998) and PhD (2003) in Historical Studies and Political Science from the Graduate Faculty-New School for Social Research. He has published articles and book chapters both in the US and in Brazil, exploring labor organizing, globalization, education and working class political participation. His published books and edited volumes are, New York Longshoremen, Class and Power on the Docks (University of Florida Press, 2010); Trabalhadores, Novas Perspectivas e Comparações, William Mello and M. Thantabantu EDUECE, Brazil (2010); História e Memória, Cultura e Oralidade, Volume I, William Mello, Zilda Lima and Altemar da Costa Muniz Ed. EDUECE, Brazil (2014); Legionários: “Galhinhas Verdes” e os Trabalhadores no Brasil (1931-1937), , William Mello Ed. EDUECE, Brazil (2016); História e Memória, Culturas e Oralidade, Volume II, William Mello, Zilda Lima and Altemar da Costa Muniz, EDUECE, Brazil, (2016), História e Memória, Culturas e Oralidade, Volume III, William Mello, Zilda Lima, Altemar da Costa Muniz and Silvia Siquiera, Ed. EDUECE, Brazil, (2019). He has a forthcoming article, (2021) Poverty and Politics: Bolsonaro, neoliberalism’s authoritarian alternative and the ongoing assault on democracy in Brazil.He is currently writing a book that explores the problems of class, democracy and inequality in Brazil with the working title Workers and the Struggle for Democracy in Brazil (for 2022). He was responsible for the organization of the Labor Studies International Program Brazil, Conflict and Social Justice, (2004-2008). He is an affilaiate faculty member of Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Program in Brazilian Studies at Indiana University (2017 to present).



Emphasis/Major: Political Science and Historical Studies
2003 - New School for Social Research

Dissertation: Reforming the Waterfront. Rank and File Activism and Politics on the Port of New York 1945-1970.

History and Politics Research Program

Emphasis/Major: Labor History in the United Kingdom
2002 - Oxford University

Dissertation: Final Program Project: Revisiting the General Strike


Emphasis/Major: Political Science and Historical Studies
1998 - New School for Social Research

Dissertation: Considerations on labor and Politics


Emphasis/Major: Historical Studies
1996 - Empire State College - State University of New York (SUNY)

Dissertation: Dockers News: Rank and File Activism on the Port of New York.

Research Interests

The focus of my current research explores the relations of power and politics in the United States and in Brazil. Specifically my work examines the influence and constraints placed upon organized labor movements and workers in politics as well as their ability to shape policies and political outcomes. Methodologically my research is multidisciplinary, drawing on history, sociology and political science, with a particular emphasis on the processes of political development providing an informed analysis of politics and policies. In a broad sense, political outcomes and policies are not simply the consequence of short-term interactions but the product of ongoing sociopolitical and economic conflict and processes better informed when viewed over time.

Teaching Interests

My teaching interests examines the role of labor in politics and policy development over time. I teach across the Labor Studies curriculum, both online and in the classroom, and include, but are not limited to, the courses: LSTU-L 110 Labor and Society; LSTU-L 201 Labor Law; LSTU-L 203 Labor and the American Political System; LSTU-L 205 Contemporary Labor Problems; and LSTU – L 490 Class and Power in Labor Politics. As an affiliated faculty of the Graduate History Program (MAHIS) at the State University of Ceará (UECE) – Brazil I have delivered graduate history seminars examining Brazilian political development in a historical perspective. In my courses, the study of politics and labor´s role in society provide students with the tools for critical thinking and analysis. My teaching is informed by the pedagogical theories developed by Paulo Freire. For Freire learning is conceived as a transformative process and an essential feature for building critical consciousness and teaching issues of social justice. Freire argued that there are intrinsic interrelations between subjective and objective consciousness central to the process of social transformation. In this learning process individual and collective awareness are critical aspects of education. Critical consciousness that results from learning is not just knowledge, in tis sense the way in which learning occurs and the action it elicits. To paraphrase Freire “Education does not change the world, people do.”