Category Archives: UHA Business

A reminder about and update regarding the UHA meet up at the AHA in Chicago this January!

“The best laid plans …” as the saying goes.  As you hopefully remember, behind the leadership of Becky Nicolaides and Carol McKibben and in association with the UHA, this year’s AHA will feature an urban history “meet up” on Saturday, January 5, 2019.  However as it so happens the initial event time coincided with a retrospective panel on Arnold Hirsch. If the UHA conference in October was any indicator, the panel will enjoy a deservedly very large audience. Wanting neither low attendance at the meet up nor to draw attention away from the late, great Professor Hirsch the UHA event has been rescheduled for 8:30 am – 10 am on the same day, same location and so forth. Network with your fellow urbanists then make your way to what promises to be an eye opening discussion of Hirsch’s work.  We’ve included the original write up by the eminent  Nicolaides below with all the updated information regarding the event further down. Hope to see you there!

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Chicago Bulls basketball game at the United Center, Chicago, Illinois, Carol M. Highsmith, after 1994, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

The annual American Historical Association (AHA) conference is a big, rich space for historians but can be a little overwhelming, especially for newcomers.  This year at the AHA, we are trying something new:  informal “meet ups” to help people with shared interests find each other at the conference.  I’m happy to be co-hosting a meet-up for urban historians at the upcoming AHA conference in Chicago, welcoming in folks working on all urban/suburban/metro geographies, time periods, themes, you name it. It will be informal, no agenda, just a chance to find old and new friends in the field and share what you’ve been up to, over coffee and croissants. I’ll be there along with Carol McKibben to welcome you. We are grateful to the UHA for generously underwriting the costs of refreshments.  Drop by if you can, bring your business cards, and hope to see you there!

When: Saturday January 5, 8:30 – 10am 

Where Salon 8, Palmer House, Chicago, IL

Co-hosts:

Becky Nicolaides, Councilor, Research Division, AHA Council, and Research Affiliate, USC and UCLA
Carol McKibben, Lecturer, Stanford University

Hosted jointly with the Urban History Association

Featured image (at top): Night view of Chicago Federal Center, Chicago, Illinois, Carol M. Highsmith, July 27, 2017, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress 

“Urban History Meet Up” at the AHA

The annual American Historical Association (AHA) conference is a big, rich space for historians but can be a little overwhelming, especially for newcomers.  This year at the AHA, we are trying something new:  informal “meet ups” to help people with shared interests find each other at the conference.  I’m happy to be co-hosting a meet-up for urban historians at the upcoming AHA conference in Chicago, welcoming in folks working on all urban/suburban/metro geographies, time periods, themes, you name it. It will be informal, no agenda, just a chance to find old and new friends in the field and share what you’ve been up to, over coffee and croissants. I’ll be there along with Carol McKibben to welcome you. We are grateful to the UHA for generously underwriting the costs of refreshments.  Drop by if you can, bring your business cards, and hope to see you there!

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Aerial view of Chicago, Illinois. The black skyscraper is Willis Tower, previously known as Sears Tower, a Chicago landmark, Carol M. Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

When: Saturday January 5, 8:30 – 10am 

Where Salon 8, Palmer House, Chicago, IL

Co-hosts:

Becky Nicolaides, Councilor, Research Division, AHA Council, and Research Affiliate, USC and UCLA
Carol McKibben, Lecturer, Stanford University

Hosted jointly with the Urban History Association

Featured image (at top): Marquee of the historic Chicago Theater, which opened in 1921, Chicago, Illinois, Carol M. Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

The Metropole November Round Up

As we close out November with stuffed bellies and eyes toward impending December holidays, The Metropole’s editors would be remiss not to draw attention to one of the blog’s strongest months since its founding in 2017. With a new UHA board, filled with recent arrivals, readying to assume responsibilities in January, we profiled four incoming members: Llana Barber, James Wolfinger, Emily Callaci, and Dorothee Brantz. Get to know your new board!

December 1st also brought to an end to our most prolific Metro of the Month, Baltimore. In November, The Metropole published, counting our usual overview, eight pieces of scholarship on Charm City. We’ve provided a round up of each below. Delve into the history of the iconic Mid-Atlantic metropolis!

Baltimore, Maryland Row Houses
Row houses, Baltimore, Maryland, Carol M. Highsmith, November 1, 2008, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Mobs, Monuments, and Charm: A Baltimore Bibliography: From current 21st century popular culture attentions to the city (The Corner, The Wire, Beach House, Future Islands) to the story of Charm City’s unfortunately very influential residential segregation laws of the early 1910s, our annual overview/bibliography provides a bite sized bite of the larger whole.

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House in Negro section. Baltimore, Maryland, John Vachon, July 1938, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Race in Baltimore:

Longtime resident and Johns Hopkins University political scientist Matt Crenson, author of 2017’s Baltimore: A Political History, reflects on the city’s struggle with race relations. Equal parts academic analysis and memoir, Crenson juxtaposes his lived experience with the historical reality of the city.

harveyjohnson

The Brotherhood of Liberty and Baltimore’s Place in the Black Freedom Struggle:

Virginia Tech historian Dennis Patrick Halpin draws upon his forthcoming work on the city, A Brotherhood of Liberty: Black Reconstruction and its Legacies in Baltimore, 1865-1920, to discusses the history of Baltimore’s first black-led civil rights organization (and one of the first nationally) and the struggles it encountered to deliver the rights of citizenship to Charm City’s African American community.

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Baltimore (Convention Center Construction), Marion S. Trikosko, December 2, 1977, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

The Drug War in Baltimore: The Failure of the “Kingpin” Strategy in Charm City:

Walsh University historian Will Cooley delivers an account of 1970s and 1980s law enforcement drug policies in Baltimore. Unsurprisingly, the “Kingpin” approach failed to fully address the tragedy of the drug trade in the city. Cooley writes deft historical analysis with a journalistic eye in one of The Metropole’s most popular pieces of the last four months.

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Baltimore, Maryland. Thursday night shoppers in a line outside a movie theatre, Marjory Collins, 1943, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress 

When Baltimore Was Hollywood East: Racial Exclusion and Cultural Development in the 1970s:

The world does not have enough cultural history that manages to both provide insight about material culture while also exploring how such cultural productions contribute to larger municipal policy goals, or in this case, failed to. University of Rutgers-Camden historian Mary Rizzo delves into 1970s Charm City to explore how municipal leaders and others hoped to create a new Mid-Atlantic Tinseltown that would also undergird urban renewal efforts.

Tyson Cartoon
From the Baltimore Evening Sun, June 3, 1959.

“Slum Clearance a la Mode”: The Battle for Baltimore’s Tyson Street:

As most urban historians know, highway construction in America’s cities hollowed out metropolitan America particularly for working class African Americans and other minorities who found themselves forcibly removed from their communities. Yet Seattle University historian Emily Lieb, whose forthcoming book examines the West Baltimore neighborhood of Rosemont, explores the question “But what happened when white people were in the way?” Her account captures numerous problematic aspects of “slum clearance” particularly in regard to race and class.

Mural in Baltimore, Maryland
Mural, Baltimore, Maryland, Carol M. Highsmith, September 2008, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Segregated by Design: “Free Choice” and Public Housing in Baltimore:

Rhonda Y. Williams published her groundbreaking work, The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles Against Urban Inequality in 2004. Urban planner Sara Patenaude also saw in the city’s public housing history important historical data points. In this thumbnail summary of her dissertation, Patenaude documents how “choice” in public housing failed to lead to greater opportunity or integration for black residents.

Paul Coates, 1971 (courtesy of Harry)
Paul Coates during his Black Panthers days, 1971, courtesy of Harry

Activist Businesses and Baltimore’s Overlooked History of Social Movements:

When discussing social movements of the 1960s and 1970s, one often envisions collective action and critique of capitalist organization and impulses. But, what about those “activist entrepreneurs” who attempted to meld social justice with business? Drawing upon his recent book, From Head Shops to Whole Foods: The Rise and Fall of Activist Entrepreneurs, University of Baltimore historian Josh Clark Davis explores Baltimore’s forgotten social justice enterprises.

We look forward to delivering more content in December!

Featured image: Bohemian Beer special, Hampden neighborhood, Baltimore Maryland, Ryan Reft, 2015. 

CFP for UC-Berkeley: Landscapes of Memory

The Metropole digs symposiums. Who doesn’t? Recently, the Global Urban Humanities Initiative (a joint venture between the UC Berkeley Arts & Humanities Division of the College of Letters & Science and the College of Environmental Design) contacted the UHA about its upcoming two day symposium: Techniques of Memory: Landscape, Iconoclasm, Medium, and Power.  Needless to say, we see plenty of opportunity for urbanists so check out the CFP below!

CFSAAA – Call for Scholars, Artists, Architects and Activists

Techniques of Memory

Landscape, Iconoclasm, Medium and Power

Before WWII Robert Musil famously claimed that there was nothing in this world as invisible as a monument. Musil, alongside critics like Lewis Mumford, was determined to disclose the inability of the monument to adapt itself to modern times. Yet, recent events in Charlottesville, and New Orleans are only one of many signs that Musil might have been mistaken: monuments and memorials can be easily awakened to cause local politics and streets to burst into flames. While old monuments are falling, new memorials get erected at heightened speed. The distance between an injustice, tragedy, or deed, and its memorialization seems to be rapidly decreasing.

The groundbreaking literature on the field of memorialization, which includes classics like Maurice Halbwachs’s On Collective Memory, Pierre Nora’s Liex de Memoire, James Young’s The Texture of Memory, Andreas Huyssen’s Twilight Memories, _________dealt with a historical phenomenon rooted in the 80s and heightened by anxieties about the new millennium. Almost two decades later its seems pressing to reassess the role that memory and its physical manifestations ­–memorials, monuments, plaques, calendars, photographs, xxx– play in our contemporary world. The 2019 Global Urban Humanities conference, Techniques of Memory, invites scholars, artists, architects, and activists to submit abstracts that analyze memorialization as a historical phenomenon, discuss the contemporary role of memorials, and examine the changing role of memory in diverse geographical areas and historical periods.

The Global Urban Humanities Initiative is a joint venture between the UC Berkeley Arts & Humanities Division of the College of Letters & Science and the College of Environmental Design. Thanks to the vision and support of the Mellon Foundation, it brings together scholars and practitioners from the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, city and regional planning, and multiple humanities disciplines – ranging from comparative literature and history of art, to theater, dance and performance studies. Together, faculty and graduate students are developing new theoretical paradigms, research methods, and pedagogical approaches in order to help address the complex problems facing today’s global cities and regions.

Techniques of Memory: Landscape, Iconoclasm, Medium and Power will be a two-day symposium organized by the Global Urban Humanities Initiative at UC Berkeley, from April 17th to 18th 2019 at the Brower Center in Downtown Berkeley. Following the principles of the Global Urban Humanities Initiative, our symposium seeks to bring together not only scholars, but practitioners, activists and artist to think about monuments, memorial landscapes, iconoclasm, mediums and materiality, as well as memory politics and power from the unique interdisciplinary standpoint that this platform provides. The symposium will consist of four panels: Landscape, Iconoclasm, Medium and Power. We ask submissions to reference which of the four panels they would like to be considered for:

  1. Landscape: Contributions that engage with what could be largely defined as memorial landscapes: geographies of memory, geopolitics of memorials, as well as memorials in specific social and cultural contexts. Design interventions, scholarly examinations, activism projects and community appropriation examples are all encouraged to participate.
  2. Iconoclasm: Contributions that engage with the destruction, removal, intervention, mobility and stasis, re-appropriation, and re-signification of monuments and memorials. Scholarly contributions, architectural designs, artistic interventions, performance works and new media approaches are encouraged to participate.
  3. Medium: Contributions that examine the materiality, production, and labor of memory and memorials. Scholarly contributions, architectural designs, artistic interventions, performance works and new media approaches are encouraged to participate.
  4. Power: Contributions that engage with politics and institutions of memory, race and memory, gender and memory, debates around postcolonial memorialization, as well as struggles for recognition and reparation. Design interventions, scholarly examinations, activism projects and community appropriation examples are all encouraged to participate.

Additionally, keynote speakers Austin Allen (New Orleans), Jason Berry (New Orleans), Lauren Kroiz (Berkeley), Marita Sturken (New York), Hans van Houwelingen (Amsterdam), will each contribute to one of the four themes of the conference and will serve as respondents to the delivered papers.

Submissions should include the following:

–       Contact information (name and email)

–       Institutional affiliation and/or address

–       Title of contribution

–       Type of contribution (paper, performance, artist talk, design talk)

–       Preferred panel (landscape, iconoclasm, medium or power)

–       Abstract (300 words)

–       CV (no more than 4 pages)

Selected papers will be supported to present their contributions at the symposium with $800 for travel and lodging expenses for presenters from outside California, and $400 for presenters travelling from within California.

The deadline for submissions is December 20th, 2018.

Sincerely,

Symposium Organizing Committee:

Susan Moffat – Global Urban Humanities Project Director,

Anna Brand – Landscape Architecture Department;

Sarah Hwang – Global Urban Humanities Program coordinator,

Valentina Rozas-Krause – Architecture Department

Andrew Shanken –Architecture Department;

Bryan Wagner – English Department

 

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.

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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!

#UHA2018

In Michael Winterbottom’s 2002 film “24 Hour Party People,” then-television journalist and future Factory Records founder Tony Wilson (Steve Coogan) ventures out into the cool Manchester, England night one evening to take in a rock show. What he sees changes his life and those of millions of others forever.

“In the fall of 1976, the Sex Pistols play Manchester for the very first time,” he tells the camera. “There are only 42 people in the audience but every one of them is feeding on a power, an energy, a madness. Inspired, they will go out and perform wondrous deeds.” Wilson’s record label would help to define the “Manchester Scene” (think the Stone Roses and Charlatans UK, for non-Factory artists) which dominated alternative music from the mid-1990s until the early aughts. In attendence? Members of the Buzzcocks, Joy Division (later New Order), and Martin Hannett, “the only true genius in this story,” as Wilson opines. Hannett was the producer responsible for several of the landmark albums of the period. Sure the Pistols never sold that many albums and less than fifty people caught the show, but much like the Velvet Underground and the Ramones who sold few albums overall, everyone who bought one started a band. Punk sought, wittingly or unwittingly, to topple hierarchies.

Far be it for The Metropole to assert that #UHA2018 created a new cultural touchstone like punk or post-punk, but anyone who attended this year’s Urban History Association Conference, “Cities at a Crossroads,” in Columbia, S.C. came away prepared to spit historical hot fire to power.  Encapsulated by the exemplary round table honoring Arnold Hirsch’s Making the Second Ghetto and the concluding plenary session commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre, the conference ended with a passionate, compelling statement of purpose inspired by keynote speaker Dr. June Manning Thomas: historians will engage in the battle against structural inequality, be it based on race, class, gender or sexual orientation.

It seems appropriate on two counts to tell the story of the conference through the people who attended it and with a technology that, much like punk, has contributed to the transformation and reordering of culture: Twitter. So with that in mind The Metropole brings you scenes from UHA2018 derived from the hashtag: #UHA2018.

Anticipation

“The bells go off
The buzzer coughs
The traffic starts to buzz
The clothes are stiff
The fabrics itch
The fit’s a little rough”

— “Price Tag” Sleater Kinney

On the song “Price Tag” from its 2015 album “No Cities to Love,” the band Sleater-Kinney (part of the second wave of the riot girl movement and a descendant of the Sex Pistols) sings about the crushing monotony of a job based on the grinding nature of the American economy. “We love our bargains, we love the prices so low. With the good jobs gone. It’s gonna be raw.” On the title track, they joke acidly that “[t]here are no cities to love, It’s not the cities it’s the weather we love.”  #UHA2018 rejected one of these premises (“no cities to love” obviously), endorsed another (neoliberalism has not been kind to cities), while enjoying yet another: the fine Columbia weather. All these factors contributed to a palpable, enthusiastic anticipation.

The opening reception held at the University of South Carolina President’s House enjoyed great weather.

An intrepid half-dozen folks braved a chilly Friday morning and rose early for 3.25 mile run led by Historic Columbia’s John Sherrer, who managed to detail numerous aspects of the city’s history while maintaining a brisk running pace.

Conference panels kicked off at 8 am on Friday, and participants never looked back.

Not that everything goes smoothly–after all, the struggles of academic conferences are real. Murphy’s law, one might suggest. Predictably, Murphy’s Law is not only a concept but also a NYC hardcore punk band.

There were Foulcaldian debates, or, perhaps more accurately, debates about using Foucault.

In regard to local history, the UHA and Historic Columbia offered numerous tours.

Breakfast and other necessary sustenance

To be honest, beyond straight-edge artists like Minor Threat and their successor Fugazi, a lot of punk bands drank excessively and/or used copious amount of hunger-suppressing drugs. Culinary delight did not really factor into the scene.

Indeed, continental breakfast was provided. Some however, such as Amanda Seligman, preferred protein.

Then again, one can have too much of a good thing.

Still, protein focused tweets aside, even with some free grub conference goers built up healthy appetites whether paneling, touring, or making the rounds–though they might not have satiated said hunger with the most nutritious options.

Remembering Arnold Hirsch and the Orangeburg Massacre of 1968

With stomachs full and hunger satiated, historians could return to the work at hand, perhaps exemplified by the late-afternoon round table on Arnold Hirsch and his classic work Making the Second Ghetto. “So understand me when I say, there’s no love for this USA,” Bad Brains lead singer H.R. howled in 1982, “this world is doomed with its own segregation, just a Nazi test.” The penultimate verse of the band’s song “The Big Takeover” serves as a useful framing device for a round table that tackled the thorny issues laid bare by Hirsch, those things he missed, and the influence that the work had on them along with its relevance to present-day white nationalism and racism. Princeton Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor put together a panel equivalent to the Clash, the Stooges, and Bad Brains combined: Simon Balto, N.B. Connolly, Lilia Fernandez, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, and Rhonda Williams. Discussion of Hirsch’s work unfolded in typical #UHA2018 fashion: informed, impassioned, and, for many, inspiring. In his closing remarks, moderator Tom Sugrue described the panel and field as “on fire.”

The plenary session that followed, commemorating the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre and featuring Patricia A. Sullivan, June Manning Thomas, Heather Ann Thompson, and Henrie Monteith Treadwell, proved no less inspiring.

This sort of work demands a support system: colleagues, family, and of course friends.  Friendship, both collegial and personal, we hope is a hallmark of the conference. After all, it was perhaps the only institution outside of Rastafarianism that Bad Brains embraced: “We, we got ourselves, gonna sing, gonna love it, gonna work it out to any length. We, we got ourselves, we gonna make it anyway.”

In a quirk of timing, the end of #UHA2018 coincided with Columbia’s Pride Parade.

Just to close the whole punk circle that opened our summary, when those 42 people walked out of that Sex Pistols show in Manchester, they wobbled out drunk on the promise of D.I.Y. agency–hierarchies toppled at least for a little while. The echos of their contribution to reforming music still inform the present day. In the same way, we hope UHA members barrelled home, fires burning in their wake, the knees of hegemonies knocking, new histories forming, new realities dawning. Or at the very least, a renewed attention to discovering, conveying and broadcasting urban history to each other, students, and the public.

Featured photo at top provided by Aaron Shkuda taken October 19, 2018.

Announcing the Winner of the Second Annual UHA/The Metropole Grad Student Blogging Contest

The Metropole/Urban History Association Graduate Student Blogging Contest was established to promote blogging among graduate students–as a way to teach beyond the classroom, market their scholarship, and promote the enduring value of the humanities. The theme of the second annual contest was “Striking Gold,” inspired by the  golden rays of summer sunshine. Grad students were invited to submit essays on lucre and archival treasures, and we received three excellent submissions that responded to both interpretations of the theme: Emily Brooks wrote about finding a memo on microfilm detailing an escape from jail, and Angela Shope Stiefbold and Andy Grim shared histories of people and places grappling with newly-realized wealth.

We are proud to announce that our winner is Angela Shope Stiefbold, for her piece “The Value of Farmland: Rural Gentrification and the Movement to Stop Sprawl,” which uses Bucks County, Pennsylvania as a case study to examine how rapidly rising metropolitan land value can mean “Striking Gold” for some land owners while threatening the livelihood of others. As the winner, Stiefbold will receive a prize of $100 and a certificate of recognition.

geographic Position 1954 planOf “The Value of Farmland,” our judges wrote that Stiefbold “offers a whole new lens for thinking about suburbanization … drawing a suggestive link to gentrification” by “showing the convergence of the interests of farmers and suburbanites.” The judges praised how the blog post “draws from deep research and offers an excellent example of how to bring alive sources that might, to a lay reader, seem dry. That Stiefbold succeeds in making planning records, maps, and reports interesting is impressive.” Indeed, all the judges agreed that Stiefbold succeeded in “showing” rather than “telling,” while still producing a “substantive” argument.

Each of the three contest submissions were excellent, however, a fact that the judges enthusiastically noted. One judge “so enjoyed” reading them all, while another opined that “any one could be a worthy winner.” The third concluded, “Overall, I feel very good about the state of the field after reading these three pieces.”

We highly encourage you to check out Emily Brooks’ “Busting Out in WWII-era Brooklyn” and Andy Grim’s “Opportunity Costs in the War on Crime” 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.

Congratulations, Angela!

Featured image (at top): Downtown mural painted by, or in honor of, the 2015 graduating class of Clarksdale High School, in Clarksdale, Mississippi, photography by Carol M. Highsmith, 2017, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Coming to Columbia, S.C.: #UHA2018

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Urban History Association. Born in Cincinnati amidst the systematic disinvestment in the nation’s cities and the “greed is good” coda of Wall Street, the UHA could have become a dour professional organization hosting the occasional pedantic and scolding conference–after all, one could argue the nation has mistreated its cities for decades (if not from its founding). Yet, as someone who has been attending since 2010, the UHA conference is anything but intemperate, boring, or insufferable. It’s incredibly suffrable, in fact. I’d argue it’s eminently enjoyable.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a passionate affair. People have plenty to say, none of it boilerplate. Sure, on occasion as a profession we can be a bit “jargony.” When the conference was in Las Vegas, I tried to lay a prop bet on the over/under for the number of times the phrase “built environment” would be used. Needless to say, the first problem came when the casino asked me what I meant by “built environment” at which I point, looking around I, arms akimbo, said, “you know … the built environment.” Understandably, all bets were off. The larger point is the UHA always delivers impassioned, informed, and insightful discussions about the world’s cities and suburbs. Here’s a link to the program for the UHA’s 9th Biennial Conference: Cities at the Crossroads. You’ll find vastly more detail about registration, tours, and of course, the main event, the panels.

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Eckerds Drug sign, Main Street, Columbia, South Carolina, photograph by John Margolies, 1979, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

For all you social media types, the organization will be using the hashtag #UHA2018. In the words of Pusha T, “If you know, you know.” Please do tweet from, about, and at the conference with this hashtag. Don’t let an inability to attend stop you from entering the fray; we welcome comments from our urban diaspora as well as the proverbial peanut gallery (I’m looking at you Dinesh D’Souza). The Alumni Center at the conference will dedicate two screens to broadcasting #UHA2018 which will enable everyone in proximity to watch the hashtag in real time. In other words, in addition to your innumerable twitter followers, your tweets will have an analog audience. In all seriousness, we want to foster debate and an exchange of ideas in Columbia and in the internet ether. The cloud envelops us, let’s envelop it.

If you are attending, we’ve listed the social events and their locations below. Also if you haven’t had a chance to dig into the history of Columbia S.C., why not check out our January Metro of the Month, Columbia. Jessica Elfenbein (University of South Carolina) and Robin Waites put together a murder’s row of contributors: Sid Bedingfield, Lydia Brandt, Thomas Brown, Jill Found, Robert Greene, and John Sherrer. The posts touch on issues from the past and present including an overview of Columbia’s history, the “problem of Confederate Memorials,” a history of Jack, an enslaved person at South Carolina College, a short history of the Congaree National Park, an accounting of the critical role played by the Black press in Columbia, and the rise of the city’s mid-century modern architecture. We’ve provided links to each of their pieces below as well. We hope to see all of you there in person, and if you can’t bring your corporeal body to Columbia, your twitter persona will do. Welcome to #UHA2018 everyone!

John Sherrer: Capital on the Congaree: A Bibliography for Columbia, S.C.

Robert Greene: Congaree National Park: Gateway to a Historical Legacy

Sid Bedingfield: Printing the Good Fight: The Importance of Black Newspapers in Columbia, S.C.

Thomas J. Brown: The Problem of Confederate Memorials

Lydia Mattice Brandt: The City Bureaucracy Built: Columbia’s Mid-Century Moment

Jill Found: Jack at South Carolina College: Remembering Enslaved People in Columbia

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The African American History Monument, completed in 2001 on the state capitol grounds in Columbia, the capital city of South Carolina,  photography by Carol M. Highsmith, May 7, 2017, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

UHA Social Events

Thursday, October 18:

5:00-7:00 PM – OPENING RECEPTION. University of South Carolina President’s House (on the University of South Carolina Horseshoe).

Friday, October 19:

6:15-7:15 AM – RUNNING TOUR: “Historic Columbia.” Departs from in front of the Hilton Columbia Center; no pre-registration required.

5:15-6:45 PM – RECEPTION. Hunter-Gatherer Brewery at the Curtiss-Wright Hangar (1402 Jim Hamilton Boulevard). Free buses will depart from in front of the Hilton Columbia Center to the Reception and Gala Banquet beginning at 5:00 pm.

7:00-9:00 PM – GALA BANQUET, AWARDS, AND PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. City Roots (1005 Airport Blvd., across the street from the Hunter-Gatherer Brewery). Free buses will depart from in front of the Hilton Columbia Center to the Reception and Gala Banquet beginning at 5:00 pm.

Saturday, October 20: 6:00-7:00 PM – RECEPTION. Richland Library (1431 Assembly Street).

 

Featured image (at top): Gateway to the mansion known as the “Robert Mills House” in Columbia, the capital city of South Carolina, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, May 7, 2017, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

 

With Great Sadness …

 

lobelIt is with great regret that the Urban History Association notes the passing of longtime UHA member and membership secretary Dr. Cindy Lobel. Among other numerous publications, Professor Lobel authored the award winning Urban Appetites: Food and Culture in Nineteenth-Century New York which was named the Winner of the 2013 Dixon Ryan Fox Manuscript Prize and the 2016 Herbert H. Lehman Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in New York History by the New York Academy of History. According to her husband Peter, she passed away early this morning “peacefully and without pain, surrounded by her mother Kaaren, her sisters Jodi, Susan and Debbie, and myself. We were playing her the Hamilton soundtrack on an iPhone.” She will be sorely missed by the UHA and its membership, but remembered by her students and colleagues alike as a passionate, talented, and caring historian. A more substantive remembrance of Professor Lobel will appear in the forthcoming UHA newsletter. For anyone who would like to add to this remembrance via twitter, please feel free to email uhacommunicationsteam@gmail.com with a link to your tweet which we will add to this post.

 

Metropole/UHA Grad Student Blog Contest is On!

Well it’s the second Monday of June 2018 meaning we are now over two weeks into the Second Annual Metropole/UHA graduate student blog contest. Undoubtedly, many of you have embarked or will be soon embarking on summer research trips. Keep the contest in mind as you dig through archives building an argument for your dissertation, thesis, or article. Did you discover some archival treasure that sheds new light on an old argument or have you compiled a set of data/sources that uniquely shape your narrative? Sharpen your public history skills, publicize your work, and receive feedback on both from top historians in the field: Heather Ann Thompson, Tom Sugrue, and Richard Harris. Plus, $100 to the winner!

See below for more information. Send submissions to uhacommunicationsteam@gmail.com. All submissions due by July 15, 2018.

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The Metropole/Urban History Association Graduate Student Blogging Contest exists to encourage and train graduate students to blog about history—as a way to teach beyond the classroom, market their scholarship, and promote the enduring value of the humanities.

The summer’s blogging contest theme is “Striking Gold.” With golden rays of summer sunshine in our near future, we invite graduate students to submit essays on lucre and archival treasures. Tell us how you found the linchpin of your dissertation argument hidden in a mislabeled folder, or share the history of an event or era characterized by newly-realized wealth.

 

All submissions that meet the guidelines outlined below will be accepted. The Metropole’s editors will work with contest contributors to refine their submissions and prepare them for publication.

In addition to getting great practice writing for the web and experience working with editors, the winner will receive a certificate and a $100 prize!

The contest will open on June 1 and will close on July 15. Entries must be submitted to uhacommunicationsteam@gmail.com. Posts will run on the blog in July and August, and we will announce the winners in September. Finalists will have their papers reviewed by three award-winning historians: Heather Ann Thompson, Tom Sugrue and Richard Harris. The winning blog post will receive $100.

Contest Guidelines

  1. Contest entrants must be enrolled in a graduate program.
  2. Contest entrants must be members of the UHA. A one-year membership for graduate students costs only $25 and includes free online access to the Journal of Urban History.
  3. Contest submissions must be original posts not published elsewhere on the web.
  4. Contest submissions must be in the form of an essay related to the theme of “Striking Gold.” Essays can be about current research, historiography (but not book reviews), or methodology. Essays that stick to the following criteria will be most successful:
    1. Written for a non-academic audience and assume no prior knowledge.
    2. Focused on one argument, intervention, or event, and not trying to do too much.
    3. Spend more time showing than telling.
  5. Posts must be received by the editors (uhacommunicationsteam@gmail.com) by July 1 at 11:59 PM EST to be eligible for the contest.
  6. Posts should be at least 700 words, but not exceed 2000 words.
  7. Links or footnotes must be used to properly attribute others’ scholarship and reporting. The Metropole follows the Chicago Manual of Style for citation formatting.