Category Archives: ICYMI

ICYMI: The “How is it almost February?” Edition

By Avigail Oren

We’re approaching the end of our Metropolis of the Month coverage of Columbia, SC, and I confess that I’m feeling sad about it. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with our many contributors and the response from you all, dear readers, has been so enthusiastic. My consolation is that we have one more excellent piece coming up next week, and our upcoming series in February–The City in Fiction–is going to be pretty exceptional.

From our cousins over at the Global Urban History blog, a new post by Benjamin Bryce on the relative lack of ethnic clusters in Buenos Aires.

You will click on “Like a Fart in a Skillet,” from the OAH’s Process blog, because like me you still have the sense of humor of a 12 year old.

UHA member Nick Juravich uses an Arizona school district’s facepalm-inducing plan to provide tiny houses for teachers as a launching point to explore the interconnected issues of educational inequality, segregation, and affordable housing.

This is an older post that I missed when it was published, but is a valuable resource for graduate students struggling with how to pay for mental health care.

Check out this Post Doctoral Fellowship in Prison Studies at NYU

The past few days have been so busy, and I’m relieved and overjoyed that it is Friday. Wishing you all a pleasant weekend!


ICYMI: The First One of 2018 Edition

The Metropole stormed into January with some great content, setting the tone for an exciting year. What were our New Years resolutions, you ask? We simply have one: to continue putting out the kind of great research and reflection that makes our blog the digital hub for urban history, read by experts and enthusiasts alike.

Last week we kicked off our first Metropolis of the Month for 2018 with John Sherrer’s bibliography of Columbia, South Carolina. This capitol city is hosting our upcoming Urban History Association Biennial Conference in October, and after reading Sherrer’s sweeping overview of the city’s history I have a better sense of Columbia’s early development, its role in the Civil War, and its evolution throughout the twentieth century. We also featured a post by Robert Greene II about Congaree Swamp (now Congaree National Park) and the role it played in sustaining Columbia’s black community from slavery through the end of the nineteenth century. As Greene writes:

Understanding the story of African American resilience in Congaree is key to knowing more about the history of African American freedom in South Carolina and across the United States. For African Americans, land was power. Self-sufficiency and free labor meant freedom. All of this was proven time and again in Congaree.

Stay tuned next week for more posts about Columbia, including a history of South Carolina’s black press and some insight into the difficulty of removing Confederate monuments.

In addition to our Metropolis of the Month coverage, we also announced the winner of the inaugural UHA/The Metropole Grad Student Blogging Contest, placed our first book on The Metropole Book Shelf, and published a historian’s reaction the “new” trend among urban policy makers for land-value taxes.

For those in SoCal, also make sure not to miss the upcoming sessions of the LA History & Metro Studies Group.

For UHA Grad Students, check out the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship in History Education at the Museum of the City of New York–applications are due on March 7. It’s $30,900 for two days per week of work, plus relocation expenses! I rarely wish I could rewind the clock and do grad school over again, but when I read about this fellowship I felt sad that I’d missed the opportunity to work at one of my favorite museums.

Also for UHA Grad Students, Carnegie Mellon University’s digital scholarship center, dSHARP, is offering a paid eight week summer internship–one of the projects is urban oriented (Bridges of Pittsburgh). Improve those DH skills and spend the summer in the great city of Pittsburgh? That’s a hard deal to beat.

For the Americanists in our ranks, the deadline to submit for the 2019 OAH Conference has been extended until January 23.

And finally, we close with our customary dose of humor:

Faithfully yours,

The Editors

Holiday Histories and Well Wishes to All

We are taking a brief hiatus from our regular Tuesday Member of the Week feature. With the end-of-semester crunch and end-of-year celebrations in full swing, UHA members have their hands full with work and socializing–no need to burden anyone with more of it! In the spirit of the holidays, we instead bring you two pieces from the personal vaults of The Metropole‘s co-editors.

fullsizeoutput_142dTonight marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Hannukah. Three years ago, in the midst of my dissertation research, I spent a few hours on the first night of the holiday combing through all of the board meeting minutes, programs, flyers, newsletters, and oral histories I had gathered from the YM-YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood looking for descriptions of Hannukah celebrations. This Jewish Community Center in Northern Manhattan became the central case study of my dissertation; I was (and continue to be) fascinated by the many ways New York City’s postwar fiscal crisis, demographic changes, and neoliberal renaissance played out within and around one small communal space. The changes in how the Washington Heights Y celebrated Hannukah between 1929 (the earliest records I have) and the late 1970s provide one small window into the evolution of American Jewish identity and the robustness of  sectarian urban institutions.

fullsizeoutput_142cChristmas, meanwhile, is two short weeks away. For those who still prefer brick-and-mortar stores to online retailers, ’tis also the season of malls. For KCET last year, Ryan wrote about how architect Victor Gruen came to design the shopping centers that would go on to become ubiquitous in the American suburbs. Although Gruen pioneered the trend of mall development, he would eventually become a critic of his own retail architecture work.

We hope these offbeat historical takes on the holiday season provide respite from the harsh winter winds and endless stacks of grading. If there was such a thing as a secular blessing over history and historians, I think it would be this:

“I should like professional historians and, above all, the younger ones to reflect upon these hesitancies, these soul-searchings, of our craft. It will be the surest way they can prepare themselves, by a deliberate choice, to direct their efforts reasonably. I should desire above all to see ever-increasing numbers arrive at that broadened and deepened history which some of us–more every day–have begun to conceive.”

Marc Bloch, The Historian’s Craft

Happy holidays !

ICYMI: The Bring On the Turkey Edition

We at The Metropole eagerly look forward to Thanksgiving break. One of us (who shall remain nameless) really loves cranberry sauce out of a can, stretchy pants, and falling asleep on the couch halfway through the evening festivities. In that spirit, we will be going dark here on the blog next week, but hope you will return to us refreshed and ready for the amazing content we’ll be rolling out the following week.

For those grad students who will finally get a breather over the holiday weekend, consider submitting to the Grad Student Blog Contest–we have extended the deadline until November 26.

Over at the Global Urban History Blog, Urban History Association President Richard Harris and Charlotte Vorms urge us to reconsider how we apply the term “suburbs” globally.

2ha Magazine, devoted to interest in suburbs, just put out a new issue that “considers the physical, legal, economic and symbolic borders which bind our everyday definition of suburban life.” James O’Leary (Architect and Lecturer, UCL Bartlett) describes the origins of Belfast’s ‘Peace walls’, Therese Kenna (Lecturer, UCC) discusses the shifting methods of boundary-making since the emergence of the modern suburb, and Walter Greason (Dean of the Honors School, Monmouth University) highlights the conflagration of race, racism, urbanism, and economic development which persists in the United States’ ex-urban edge.

If you’re planning syllabi for next semester, check out the newly-released Routledge Handbook of Planning History edited by UHA Board Member Carola Hein. The texbook  “offers a comprehensive interdisciplinary overview of planning history since its emergence in the late 19th century, investigating the history of the discipline, its core writings, key people, institutions, vehicles, education, and practice.”

The nomination period is now open for the Vernacular Architecture Forum’s 2018 Bishir Prize, “awarded annually to the scholarly article from a juried North American publication that has made the most significant contribution to the study of vernacular architecture and cultural landscapes.”

The journal Global Histories is also accepting submissions.

And, as always, we end on a humorous note (#TGIF). In my experience, this is as applicable to humanists as to scientists:


ICYMI: The Happy 2nd Birthday, Global Urban History Blog Edition

Our internet bff, the Global Urban History Blog, just celebrated a major milestone! In recognition of their big birthday, they’re counting down their 10 most-read posts on Twitter:

The despicable, retaliatory shuttering of Gothamist and DNAinfo by billionaire owner Joe Ricketts after staff voted to unionize is a huge loss for urban scholarship.

With the announcement of Senate tax plan yesterday and it’s notable deviations from the House version, it’s unclear what will become of the proposed tax on graduate student tuition. Emily Roberts of Personal Finance for PhDs nonetheless provides a helpful overview of the current propsal and what its implications could be for students.

Did you know there’s an entire world of professor-themed items on Etsy? I’m torn between the “Read the Syllabus” mug and the “Trust Me, I’m a Professor” fanny pack.

And we would be remiss to not feature the most delightful history event of the week:


Have a great weekend!

ICYMI: The “How is it almost October?” Edition

By Avigail Oren

A reminder that Sunday is the last day for early-bird registration for the SACRPH Conference! Save yourself $20 and spend it on one of the amazing historical tours of Cleveland that will take place on the Sunday after the conference.

It’s also last call to submit an abstract for the a 2018-19 symposium sponsored by New York University and the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University on the Histories of Indigenous Urbanism.

Our former #MotW Katherine Zubovich has a new post on urban renewal and displacement in Soviet Moscow up on our internet-bff’s blog, Global Urban History.

Marisol Lebrón’s article on policing, colonialism, and Puerto Rico is currently open-access for a short time on NACLA.

LitHub on Belt, the magazine and press that are pushing back against the ruin/revival/renaissance narratives of cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Detroit.

This is a real throwback, but I missed it in July when it ran in the New Yorker. Nathan Heller offers a great overview of corpus linguistics and the digital humanities in his examination of research that has been done on a corpus of emails from the Enron Corporation. As an editor, I particularly loved this passage:

Writing, along with fire-making and the invention of the wheel, is widely held to be a milestone of human progress. This view will seem naïve to anybody who has read much human writing. In its feral form, prose is unhinged, mystifying, and repetitive. Writers feel moved to “get things down on paper,” usually incoherently, and even in guarded moods say alarming stuff because they don’t know where to put their commas. (“Time to eat children!”) The true wellspring of civilization isn’t writing; it is editing.

And, of course, the money line and a truism of which I am so, so guilty:

(Who among us has not stood atop millennia of human language and, after a moment of reflection, signed an e-mail “Best”?)

And why not conclude with some who really nailed it with his correspondence?


Until next week!

ICYMI: The 2018 UHA Conference CFP Edition

By Avigail Oren

We can’t imagine that our loyal readers have missed the exciting news–the Call for Papers for the 2018 UHA Biennial Conference in Columbia, South Carolina dropped on Wednesday. The deadline is not until February, so you have plenty of time to pull together panels and write your proposal. In the meantime, however…

Take a look at the amazing program for the upcoming SACRPH conference. I was perusing it the other day and realized that not only are some of my favorite academic colleagues presenting, but so is one of my best friends from college!

Also check out the EAUH’s CFP for the 14th International Conference on Urban History and the CFA for the OAH’s China Residencies Program, both due in October.

While we’re thinking globally, Joseph Ben Prestel has a new post on “Cairo, Berlin, and the Compartments of Urban History” up at the Global Urban History blog.

I recommend this interview with Anthony Bourdain, about an upcoming episode of his show Parts Unknown that was filmed in Pittsburgh, for Bourdain’s criticism of the war on drugs, mass incarceration, and the racialization of the opioid epidemic. Also, because Pittsburgh is great.

The correct response to this stupid Bodega startup is:

a) I can’t even

b) Eyeroll emoji

c) Screaming into the void

d) All of the above

And signing off with one of my favorite internet personalities, Lego Grad Student. Have a great weekend!


ICYMI: The Long Look Back Edition

We missed sharing a lot of great history-related stuff with you, our dear readers, during our August hiatus. Have no fear, a great round-up is here!

Over at the Global Urban History Project‘s blog–our internet bffs–Noam Maggor wrote about “Brahmin Boston and the Politics of Interconnectedness” and Razak Khan about “Princely Architectural Cosmopolitanism and Urbanity in Rampur.”

UHA member Brent Cebul explained the perverse incentives of property tax policy over on City Lab.

From the UCLA Department of Chicanx Studies, a cool map of important Latinx sites in suburban Los Angeles.

The Washington Post’s Made By History vertical recently featured UHA members Andrew Kahrl, Max Felker-Kantor, Dan Berger, Brian Purnell and Jeanne Theoharis, Adam Goodman, Andy Horowitz, Victoria Wolcott, N.D. B. Connolly, and, just today, Heather Ann Thompson.

Following Charlottesville, UHA member Walter Greason’s tweet thread on teaching collective racial violence went viral… we’ll have a reflection from him about the experience on The Metropole next week!


I enjoyed the premier episode of Christine Morgan’s new YouTube series The History Gal, and look forward to seeing how the show evolves.

For those who love music as much as they love urban history, I found a Spotify playlist called “Metropolis” for you to jam to this weekend.

And last but not least, a shout-out to us all from the inimitable Ta-Nehisi Coates:


Have a great weekend!

Avigail, Ryan, and Hope

Friday’s ICYMI

It’s been a big week for history (and counterfactual history) in the media and around the web!

Matt Guariglia, the editor of The Metropole‘s Disciplining the City series, published an historical look at surveillance data collection in the Washington Post’s new Made By History vertical. A notable anti-surveillance advocate re-tweeted.

The Global Urban History blog featured a conversation with UHA member Nancy Kwak on the increasingly intertwining fields of urban and global history.

Mae Ngai in the New York Times on the cruel history of how U.S. immigration law has manipulated the definitions of family.

Keisha N. Blain and Ibram X. Kendi argue in History News Network that we should all be writing for a broader public.

The dates have been released for this year’s Chicago Urban History Seminar.

And for those of you who need a little pick-me-up:

Friday’s ICYMI Roundup

This week on The Metropole, we traveled from prisons in Paris to Buenos Aires and Brazil,  then northwest to Gay Seattle and back eastwards to the Chrysler Village neighborhood of Chicago. We hope you enjoyed reading about poisoners and policing in seventeenth century France, the uniquely local form of LGBTQ activism that developed in twentieth-century Seattle, the award-winning efforts of public historians to engage local residents to explore a neighborhood’s history, and meeting our Member of the Week, Claudio Daflon. Join us next week for the beginning of a multi-part exploration of Seattle in pop-culture!

And in case you missed these urban history items around the web this week:

UHA Board Member Todd Michney in BELT Magazine on what the history of one Cleveland neighborhood can tell us about race and housing inequality.

In Next City, American University Professor Derek Hyra writes on “Black branding” Washington D.C’s Shaw/U Street neighborhood to white millennials

As a part of KCET’s Lost LA series, Laura Dominguez describes the 1967 protest at the Black Cat bar in Los Angeles, which occurred two years before Stonewall.

And let’s end with a timely history joke: