Dope Orange Sweaters, Saying Thank You to Richard Harris, and the #UHA2018 Twitter Award Winner

With #UHA2018 in the books, it’s time to bid farewell to one of the driving forces of urban history and planning over these past two years, President Richard Harris, and his “dope orange sweater.”

At the 2017 SACRPH conference, Aaron Cowan bravely posed a critical historical question: just how often does Harris don the “dope orange sweater”?

Every conference, Professor Cowan? Surely you jest! Well as #UHA2018 organizer Elaine Lewinnek confirmed on Facebook, Cowan was on to something. “I want to add that Richard Harris’s dope orange sweater goes back to at least 2006,” Lewinnek attested, “which was when I first met Richard at the UHA conference in Phoenix.” Indeed, Richard Harris is the literal embodiment of Frank Ocean circa 2012: he is Channel Orange.


Yet how does one accomplish such a feat? The rule of three, people:

All this is to say, we will miss Richard Harris, with and without said sweaters. “A tornado flew around, my room before you came,” Ocean sings on “Thinking about You” from Channel Orange. “Excuse the mess it made, it usually doesn’t rain in Southern California, much like Arizona. My eyes don’t shed tears, but, boy they bawl.”

Ok, sure, perhaps the waterworks won’t amount to a deluge, but no doubt, we all can agree that we appreciate Harris’ work these past few years.  Throughout his career, Harris has worked to improve our understanding of urban history through teaching, scholarship, and, most recently, his UHA presidency. The Metropole would like to take a moment to thank him for his contributions to and stewardship of the association, and to welcome incoming UHA President Heather Ann Thompson, whose tenure will begin January 1, 2019.

With all this in mind, we’d also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the #UHA2018 Dope Orange Sweater Twitter Award (DOSTA): the attendee with the best conference-related twitter feed. The competition proved fierce, as #SACRPH2017 winner Amanda Seligman resumed her social media mastery, Dan Royles threw his substantial virtual hat in the ring, and Kwame Holmes drew attention to the triumphs and tragedies of conference-going.

Undoubtedly, all prove worthy of the 2018 award, and yet a new voice emerged on the scene: University of South Carolina grad student and master of the gif, Patrice Green. She covered a host of topics, as you can see below, mixing serious issues with the kind of incisive humor that reminds us all to keep living.

Alas, though Harris owns three dope orange sweaters (making him, as Seligman pointed out, the urban history equivalent of Steve Jobs), they are, like airplane tickets, non-transferable. Instead, we’ve named Patrice Green the Member of the Week for October 30. Click on over next Tuesday where she promises to discuss her own path in the field. Congrats, Patrice!

One thought on “Dope Orange Sweaters, Saying Thank You to Richard Harris, and the #UHA2018 Twitter Award Winner

  1. Since those sweaters seem to be a thing, maybe I should explain. Why orange? Because it’s always fall when the UHA or SACRPH meets, and in southern Ontario that means yellows, reds and, yes, oranges. And also because orange is the colour for Canada’s New Democratic Party. I realize that that’s something that won’t mean much to most UHA folks, but anyway ….

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.