On August Vollmer’s 1935 Crime and State Police

This is the latest installment in the Disciplining the Nation series, a history of urban policing, incarceration, and criminalization in the United States as told through essential and teachable primary source documents. You can read the introduction to the project here, and previous installments here and here. If you’re a scholar of the carceral state and have an illustrative […]

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Member of the Week: Anne Gray Fisher

Anne Gray Fisher Assistant Professor of U.S. Gender History University of Texas – Dallas @annegrayfischer Describe your current research. What about it drew your interest? The Streets Belong to Us traces the history of sexual policing—the ways people’s bodies and their presumed sexual practices are surveilled and targeted by law enforcement—on city streets in the modern […]

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Sexual Policing—A Review of “The Streets Belong to Us: Sex, Race, and Police Power from Segregation to Gentrification”

Fischer, Anne Gray. The Streets Belong to Us: Sex, Race, and Police Power from Segregation to Gentrification (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2022). Reviewed by DeAnza A. Cook Making sense of systemic violence in modern American cities requires reckoning with sexual criminalization and its entangled carceral effects throughout this nation and beyond. Anne […]

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Digital Documentary History of Police Violence in Detroit—A Review of “Detroit Under Fire”

By Matt Guariglia and Charlotte Rosen The purpose of the Disciplining the Nation project is to make the history of policing, incarceration, and criminalization in the United States more accessible and teachable by highlighting the documents which shaped it. In addition to looking at specific documents, we also want to highlight specific public history projects […]

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An Ode to the Afro-American Patrolmen’s League Collection

By Julius L. Jones The history of African Americans on the Chicago Police Department (CPD) begins in 1871. The same year the Great Chicago Fire destroyed approximately three-and-a-half square miles of the city, leaving 100,000 people unhoused, James L. Shelton was appointed the first African American member of CPD. Since then, African Americans have served […]

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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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Disciplining the City: Scholarship and the Carceral State Year in Review 2020

By Charlotte Rosen and Matthew Guariglia The year 2020 saw one of the largest, if not the largest, protest movement in the history of the United States. Prompted by the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade–on top of too many others over the past decades–a Black-led movement against racial state and state-sanctioned […]

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The Growth of Market-Oriented Urban Policy — A Review of Neoliberal Cities

Diamond, Andrew J. and Thomas J. Sugrue, eds. Neoliberal Cities: The Remaking of Postwar Urban America. New York: New York University Press, 2020. Reviewed by Tracy Neumann Compared to their urbanist counterparts in other disciplines, urban historians—or at least Americanists—have been slow to grapple with neoliberalism. Some avoid the terminology because very few historical actors […]

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The Carceral Landscape of Historic Fort Snelling at Bdote: An Interview with Katherine Hayes

By Avigail Oren The recent work of historical anthropologist Katherine Hayes has focused on decolonizing the narratives interpreted at public heritage sites, including St. Paul’s Historic Fort Snelling at Bdote. The United States military constructed Fort Snelling in 1819-20 to protect the area’s fur trade, a role it served until Minnesota gained statehood in 1858 […]

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Stretching to Understand Renegade Urban Fireworks

This piece by Marika Plater is the first entrant into the Fourth Annual UHA/The Metropole Graduate Student Blogging Contest. We invited graduate students to “write about a moment in urban history when the inflexible was asked to bend,” and in this essay Plater asks readers to stretch their interpretation of the fireworks that seemed ubiquitous […]

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