The Metropolitical 20th Century in the United States
Urban History Association, Philadelphia
October 9-12, 2014
Contact: Michan Connor, University of Texas at Arlington (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The papers assembled for this panel seek to place the metropolitan scale at the center of political, cultural, and social history by assessing how neighborhood, municipal, and metropolitan conflicts and agendas influenced change at higher scales. The papers seek in part to write national history from the bottom up, but more importantly to assess the how historical actors working at interconnected scales from the neighborhood to the state contributed to historical transformations that are more commonly interpreted at the scale of the nation.
This panel seeks to historicize two broad trends: the metropolitanization of U.S. demographics, through which than 8 in 10 Americans today live in a metropolitan area, and the growing devolution of political decisionmaking to the state and local levels. These have elevated the stakes of metropolitics and pushed metropolitical concerns to the top of partisan agendas at different scales in ways that are as yet not fully understood. Papers may address (but are not limited to) such questions as:
How have local metropolitics contributed to partisan realignment, changes in state policy, or changing political agendas?
How have metropolitics shaped political conflict, ideologies, and identities around race, gender, class, and place?
How do metropolitical interpretations enhance, undermine, or challenge national or international understandings of political, social, and cultural change?
How do interdisciplinary articulations of the concept of metropolitics enhance historical understanding of the relatively recent past?
How do histories of metropolitics enhance or challenge concepts of region, local, and interlocal conflict developed in other fields or inform theories of metropolitan formation?
The organizer’s paper revisits the thesis of suburban moderation by considering more recent metropolitics in the Atlanta region. Beginning with a tax revolt in 1991, Republicans in Fulton County broke through what Merle and Earl Black had described as the dilemma of pursuing a (moderate) “suburban strategy” or a racially conservative “southern strategy.” Tax revolt activists dissolved the conflict between the two strategies by adopting a more grievance-driven politics that linked suburban material interests and racial resentments. The paper will conclude by discussing the implications of this metropolitics strategy for party alignment and racial ideology.
Seeking two additional papers and a chair/commenter. Please submit a one –page abstract and short CV and contact information by February 24 to email@example.com by Monday, February 24.
University of Texas at Arlington
601 S. Nedderman Dr.
Arlington, TX 76019-0419
Phone: (817) 272-3130 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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