Following the tweets from this weekend’s #AHA18, it seems that a central topic of conversation was the ways that new(ish) mediums like podcasting and blogs are allowing historians to share great, well-research stories about the past with new audiences.
— Anna F. Kaplan (@AnnaFKaplan) January 4, 2018
That’s why we created The Metropole/Urban History Association Graduate Student Blogging Contest: to promote blogging amongst graduate students —as a way to teach beyond the classroom, market their scholarship, and promote the enduring value of the humanities.
We are proud to announce that our winner is Ryan Donovan Purcell, for his piece “Strange Times in New York,” which examines New York City Mayor John Lindsey’s creative attempts to reshape the public sector. The city, in the midst “of social, economic, and political distress” during the 1970s, presented an opportunity for a new season of “wild experimentation.” As the winner, Purcell will recieve a prize of $100 and a certificate of recognition.
Of “Strange Times in New York,” our judges wrote that in addition to most clearly fitting the contest theme of “A New Season,” Purcell’s piece was also a great example of how blogs can be used “to make history more immediately meaningful and accessible.” Purcell “bridges popular culture, politics, and place in the era of New York’s fiscal crisis (and beyond),” and in doing so manages to connect an obscure, wonky, local political story to visual and narrative evidence that anyone familiar with movies and media would find accessible and interesting. Moreover, the judges felt it was well written, with a “lively” style, and “enough documentation to make it persuasive.” Like the best blog posts, it was “a quick read”; like the best historical scholarship, it was also “well-researched.”
Each of the three contest submissions were excellent, and we highly encourage you to check out Ethan Scott Barnes’ “The New York Times and the Movement of Integrated Education in New York City” and Matt Guariglia’s “Policing the White City” if you missed them.
We wish to thank our judges–Heather Ann Thompson, Tom Sugrue, and UHA President Richard Harris–and UHA Executive Director Peter Siskind for their support and wisdom.