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urban history



  • Online Roundtable: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s ‘Race for Profit’

    Black Perspectives, the blog of the African American Intellectual History Society, will sponsor a virtual roundtable on the award-winning "Race For Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership" with new essays being released beginning March 8. 


  • Should Black Northerners Move Back to the South?

    by Tanisha C. Ford

    Historian Tanisha C. Ford reviews Charles M. Blow's book, which advocates for a Reverse Great Migration to empower both Black Americans and progressive policies. She concludes it's an intriguing idea but oversimplifies the history of migration, disenfranchisement, and activism by Black southerners and their allies.



  • Searching for Our Urban Future in the Ruins of the Past

    Annalee Newitz's book on lost cities debunks the idea of sudden, catastrophic collapse. But the death of cities does show that humanity is vulnerable to change that makes centuries-old ways of life untenable. 



  • The Tokyo Moment: What Developing Cities Can Learn From The Postwar Japanese Capital

    by Ben Bensal

    "Studying postwar Tokyo helps historicize the discourse on megacities, which is still in its infancy. While there are important similarities between today’s megacities in terms of their size, organizational complexity, and socio-economic challenges, there are important contextual differences that are best assessed using a historical approach."



  • The Arch of Injustice

    Historian Steven Hahn reviews Walter Johnson's "The Broken Heart of America," finding that Johnson makes a compelling case that St. Louis is the archetypal American city but is less effective at showing concepts like white supremacy and racial capitalism as dynamic historical processes. 



  • An Ode To Kenneth Kusmer (1945-2020)

    by Walter Greason

    A former doctoral student says "Kenneth Kusmer is a legendary historian for his scholarship, his teaching, and his service. Those accomplishments only scratch the surface of his contributions to history and civilization."



  • The Real Story of the ‘Draft Riots’

    by Elizabeth Mitchell

    "The story of the merchants’ response to the so-called Draft Riots is a reminder that we can all do more if we don’t want the lives of more Black people to be marred by cruelty."



  • Houston Hip-Hop and Chinese Chicken

    by Alana Dao

    The story of a restaurant run by Chinese immigrants in Houston is the story of the growth of the diverse Gulf coast metropolis and its fusion of ethnic cultures.



  • Black Women have Shaped Politics in Boston for Centuries

    by Kabria Baumgartner

    From free speech to educational equity to fair housing, Black women in Boston have been at the front lines of challenging the city's political establishment to live up to ideals of democracy associated with the city. The presumptive mayor-elect Kim Janey will carry on that tradition. 



  • “A New Jerusalem”–A Review Of The City-State Of Boston

    Kristian Price reveiws Mark Peterson's study of Boston from its founding through the mid-19th century, which focuses on the contradiction of the Puritan ideal of a city of moral rectitude and the economic necessity of local merchants' enthusiastic participation in the slave trade. 



  • On Baltimore: Narratives and City Making

    by Bo McMillan

    A Review of Mary Rizzo's "Come and Be Shocked: Baltimore Beyond John Waters and The Wire," which argues that development interests in the city have used popular culture to craft an image of eccentric white ethnic residents that erases the city's racial segregation and the interests of the city's Black majority.



  • Americans Don’t Know What Urban Collapse Really Looks Like

    by Annalee Newitz

    "Having spent the past several years researching a book about ancient abandoned cities, I’ve come to realize that urban collapse is a modern-day version of an apocalypse prophecy: It’s always lurking just around the corner, seductive and terrifying, but it never quite happens."



  • How the New Orleans Streetcar Revival Left Bus Riders Behind

    A number of historical dynamics, including racial segregation and the growth of a tourist economy, account for decisions in the Crescent City that have refurbished a fraction of the old streetcar system at high cost while ignoring the health of bus systems that poor and working residents depend on, says NOLA transit historian Kevin McQueeney. 



  • The Rise and Fall of America's Lesbian Bars

    Even before COVID-19 a combination of factors have made lesbian bars much less common than their counterparts catering to gay men. Two filmmakers are working to raise funds to keep these establishments in business. This article also explains how bars became safe gathering places as cities passed "vice" laws that subjected lesbians to police harassment in public.



  • The Pandemic Disproved Urban Progressives’ Theory About Gentrification

    by Jacob Ambinder

    Anti-gentrification activists portray themselves as champions of the poor, but they generally represent a coalition of property owners who benefit from keeping the supply of a resource – housing – scarce. How can the political and economic incentives of land and housing be realigned?