This article examines papers presented at the “Beyond ‘Free’ and ‘Unfree’ Labor” Conference held at the University of Illinois at Chicago in April 2016. It extracts salient themes and questions about the status of labor history in the growing field of the history of capitalism. Topics discussed include the role of the state in the economy, tensions concerning the separation of the so-called private and public spheres, and changes to labor regimes over time.

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