The Mega-Ode

To conclude our Month of Academic Odes, we solicited these beautiful shout-outs from urban historians and urbanists. They speak to the collegiality of our field and the role of relationships in the construction of knowledge. Thankfully, only one is written in rhyme. So without further ado…

Amanda Seligman’s Ode to Ann Durkin Keating, Jim Grossman, and especially Henry Binford: “The three of you made my time as a graduate student both intellectually rewarding and fun. It’s because of you that I see life in the academy as humane. Most of the time all I can do is pay it forward, but today I want to thank YOU as well.”

Melanie Newport’s Ode to Skipping Conference Panels to Talk: “This goes out to the people who found me in the lobby when I should have been attending a panel. Some talked all day, some found me after a panel was a let down or even a scandal – but I am grateful for that place where fields and friendships were made and can’t wait to be there again.”

Victoria W. Wolcott’s Ode to Elsa Barkley Brown: “When I was a young graduate student Elsa’s pathbreaking article, ‘Negotiating and Transforming the Public Sphere,’ profoundly shaped my understanding of urban history and the role of African American women in cities. I will always be grateful for her warmth, support, and profound intellect.”

Deborah Kanter’s Ode to John McGreevy’s Parish Boundaries: “Reading Parish Boundaries, I began to see my city, Chicago, and all cities anew: there was a time when ‘parish’ meant more than neighborhood to local people. My attention shifted from the church building and I prowled the entire block, spying the rectory, school, sometimes a gym, and always a convent.”

Kenneth Alyass’s Ode to Marilyn Vaughn, former administrative assistant to the Wayne State History Department: “Thank you, Marilyn, for letting me work on graduate school applications during my work-study hours in undergrad! After I copied and filed a few documents, she graciously encouraged me to work on my applications every day, and other than my mother and partner, no one else was excited as her when I got admitted to several PhD programs.”

Kara M. Schlichting’s Ode to Melanie A. Kiechle: “Melanie frequently tells me ‘write shorter chapters, write shorter chapters’ – I protest that I need all the words and sources. I usually don’t, and Melanie’s wise guidance leads to cleaner arguments and crisper sentences. A true writing gift!”

Daniel Ross’s Ode to Harold Bérubé: “Harold was a big help to me as I shifted from PhD student to young prof, offering support with teaching, proposing new projects to work on, and just generally being a good guy.”

Ryan Reft’s Ode to Joan Didion, Toni Morrison, Colson Whitehead and Ralph Ellison: “Song of Solomon, Underground Railroad, and Invisible Man too, fiction can be the bread crumb into the study of history for me and you, but don’t sleep on Didion who dropped some literature into her non-fiction stew.”

David Freund’s Ode to David Keightley: “Thanks to the late Prof Keightley for responding to a question in an undergraduate class at Berkeley by pausing, thinking a moment, and saying: ‘I don’t know.’”

Ian Toller-Clark’s Odes to Tim Lombardo, Melanie Newport, and Bryan Winston: “Tim and Melanie, youse guys wrote dissertations that gave me fortitude, served as a model for my own, and inspired new ways of analyzing prisons and politics. Best of all though, you’ve reminded me that I might not always be in Philly, but Philly is always with me. Bryan, thanks for organizing and coordinating Pandemic Book Club!”

LaDale Winling’s Ode to Clay Howard: “Clay is a serious scholar with a light-hearted spirit who illustrates what a joy it is to be a historian.”

Katherine Jewell’s Ode to Tim Lombardo: “Tim came up to me at the Purdue University political history conference and said ‘You have the coolest research project, ever!!’ At the time, I was mired in so many documents, trying to create a full draft, wondering if the project was even worthwhile, and just DROWNING, and his comment picked me up and gave me a push to get the work done that I needed to. Even small moments can be so uplifting!”

Cassie Miller’s Ode to Jay Roszman: “I entered grad school with an overwhelming sense of bewilderment and Jay Roszman, more than anyone else, helped me navigate all the confusion while becoming a dear friend.”

There were also two odes to the blog and its editors. It feels immodest to publish them, but we also want to accept the compliments and gratitude.

Eric Michael Rhode’s Ode to The Metropole team (AO, RR, Jim, and Bob in particular!): “For their faith in my joining as an editor two years ago, and the abiding support and sense of community they’ve afforded me! AND a shout-out to all of the amazing contributors whose work I’ve been lucky enough to read.”

Amanda Seligman’s Ode to The Metropole‘s whole staff: “Thank you for all you’ve done to build connections among urban historians and spread ideas about urban history. Fantastic job!”

Thank you so much. Which brings us to our final ode…

The Metropole‘s Ode to Our Contributors, Readers, and Fans: “We couldn’t do this without you, and we are so grateful for the almost four years (!) of support. Cheers to many more years ahead.”


Featured image (at top): “Forever Yours,” ca. nineteenth century, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

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