The Big Fish and a Big Building: A Historic Pittsburgh Building’s Obituary

By David S. Rotenstein Introduction In the summer of 2021, crews began demolishing a historic building in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Strip District. The building was a monumental, windowless, concrete block onto which a later owner—a fish wholesaler and retailer—had installed a large illuminated fish. The building and its fish were popular and well-loved visual landmarks in […]

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On Russell Maroon Shoatz’s “Death By Regulation,” 1997, with Robert Saleem Holbrook, Executive Director of the Abolitionist Law Center

This post is part of the Metropole’s Disciplining the Nation series, where we are spotlighting a primary source that is vital to the retelling of the history of racial state violence and criminalization in the United States. Learn more about the series here. By Charlotte Rosen “I am not under a court sentence of death. […]

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Cold War Roots of Pittsburgh’s Renaissance — A Review of “Nuclear Suburbs”

Vitale, Patrick. Nuclear Suburbs: Cold War Technoscience and the Pittsburgh Renaissance. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2021. Reviewed by Alex Sayf Cummings In the 1979 cult classic The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, a down-on-their-luck basketball team called the Pittsburgh Pythons is desperate for a change of fortune. They lose constantly, despite being led by the […]

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Transforming Industrial Hubs — A Review of The Medical Metropolis

Simpson, Andrew T. The Medical Metropolis: Health Care and Economic Transformation in Pittsburgh and Houston. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019. Reviewed by Kenneth Alyass The COVID-19 pandemic has made the geographies of health care systems visible in new ways, as cameras have focused on the harrowing scenes of filled-to-capacity ICUs, health care workers draped […]

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The Metropole Bookshelf: Andrew Simpson on The Medical Metropolis

The air over Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, seems different these days. The once smoky skies are brighter, and the signature view of the city is no longer the fiery and smoky mills that once lined its riverbanks. Instead, it is the gleaming downtown skyline of glass and steel office towers best seen from nearby Mt. Washington. Looking […]

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The Pandemic to End All Pandemics?: WWI, the 1918 Influenza Epidemic, and Urban America

In a recent fivethirtyeight podcast, political scientist Dan Chen noted that in China the population largely distrusts local authorities’ response to the COVID19 pandemic, while placing faith in the large central government. Host Galen Druke then noted that in the United States, at least over the past few months, the reverse is true: support for […]

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Teaching Immigration History after Tree of Life

This morning we are briefly departing from our usual coverage on The Metropole to reflect on the intersection of pedagogy and current events. In this post, co-editor Avigail Oren comments on her experience in the classroom following the attack at Tree of Life. On Monday, October 22, I began teaching a half-semester course at Carnegie Mellon […]

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