“Entrepreneurial Greed” — A Review of Crack: Rock Cocaine, Street Capitalism, and the Decade of Greed

Farber, David. Crack: Rock Cocaine, Street Capitalism, and the Decade of Greed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. Reviewed by Kim Hewitt In Crack: Rock Cocaine, Street Capitalism, and the Decade of Greed, David Farber does dual duty—first recapping contemporary drug policies and then tracing the US history of cocaine use and cocaine business operations. The […]

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Neglected Gems: Chicago Made

By Richard Harris Robert Lewis. 2008. Chicago Made. Factory Networks in the Industrial Metropolis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Many fine works are neglected because they treat a subject that is important but unfashionable. Chicago Made falls squarely into that category. Now not all of the overlap between urban and business historians has been neglected. […]

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Neglected Gems: Wrigley’s ‘Simple Model’

By Richard Harris Edward A. Wrigley. 1967. A simple model of London’s importance in changing English society and economy 1650-1750. Past and Present 37,1: 44-70. We all get bogged down in the weeds, figuring out who did what and when, and with what effect. Solidly grounded but wonderfully ambitious in scope, Tony Wrigley’s ‘simple model’ […]

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Introducing a New Mini-Series: Neglected Gems

By Richard Harris You know how Breitbart carries stories with captions like “The Democrats’ Five Steps to Socialism”? Or how the New York Times regularly updates its count of “The Whoppers that Trump Tells”? Well, herewith is my “Seven Neglected Gems in Urban History.” I’m hopeful it, too, will go viral. The inspiration, if such […]

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Where is the Urban Economy?

By Richard Harris, McMaster University I enjoyed Victoria Wolcott’s recent item in The Metropole. Engaging, and deeply-felt, it effectively made the point that the lives and struggles of black women are among the most neglected aspects of the American urban experience. But one phrase gave me pause. She suggested that lately we have been “neglecting […]

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Member of the Week: Jacob Bruggeman

Jacob Bruggeman University of Cambridge Darwin College @jacob_bruggeman Describe your current research. What about it drew your interest?  My current research is on the construction of narratives about economic inequality in the long 20th century. For my M.Phil. dissertation, I am examining how Margaret Thatcher’s descriptions of economic inequality drew upon Victorian narratives about poverty. […]

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The Way Concrete Goes

In this, our third entrant into the Third Annual UHA/The Metropole Graduate Student Blogging Contest, Vyta Baselice takes us through the life cycle of concrete. To understand how this construction material moves from birth to death, Baselice has us travel from Pennsylvania in the late nineteenth century to mid-twentieth century New York City, before boomeranging […]

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Funding the World of Tomorrow: Public-Private Partnerships and the 1939 World’s Fair

This piece by Katie Uva is the first entrant into the Third Annual UHA/The Metropole Graduate Student Blogging Contest. We invited graduate students to submit essays on “the birth, death, or aging of institutions, neighborhoods, cities, or suburbs,” and Uva hones in on the life cycle of the New York World’s Fair to argue that […]

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Lagos: A Place with Open Eyes

By Lisa A. Lindsay A decade before the American Civil War, James Churchwill (“Church”) Vaughan set out to fulfill his formerly enslaved father’s dying wish: that he should leave his home in South Carolina for a new life in Africa. With help from the American Colonization Society, he went first to Liberia, though he did […]

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Member of the Week: Jessica Elfenbein

Jessica Elfenbein Professor of History University of South Carolina Describe your current research. What about it drew your interest?  I’m working on a community study of a now-disappeared place called Ferguson, SC. In the decades following Reconstruction, Chicago lumbermen Benjamin F. Ferguson (1840-1905) and Francis Beidler (1854-1924) made their way to South Carolina, acquired–at bargain […]

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