Matching Items (4)

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Re-imagining Surprise: the evolution of a twenty-first century boomburb, 1938-2010

Description

At the turn of the twenty-first century, the population of Surprise Arizona exploded, increasing from 31,000 to 100,000 in just eight years. Developers filled acres of former cotton fields and

At the turn of the twenty-first century, the population of Surprise Arizona exploded, increasing from 31,000 to 100,000 in just eight years. Developers filled acres of former cotton fields and citrus groves with walled neighborhoods of stucco and tile-roofed homes surrounded by palm trees and oleander bushes. Priced for middle-class families and retirees, this planned and standardized landscape stood in stark contrast to that of the town's first decades when dirt roads served migrant farm labor families living in makeshift homes with outdoor privies. This study explores how a community with an identity based on farm labor and networks of kinship and friendship evolved into an icon of the twenty-first century housing boom. This analysis relies on evidence from multiple sources. A community history initiative, the Surprise History Project, produced photographs, documents, and oral histories. City records, newspaper accounts, county documents, and census reports offer further insight into the external and internal factors that shaped and reshaped the meaning of community in Surprise. A socially and politically constructed concept, community identity evolves in response to the intricate interplay of contingencies, external forces, and the actions and decisions of civic leaders and residents. In the case of Surprise, this complex mix of factors also set the foundation for its emergence as a twenty-first century boomburb. The rapid expansion of the Phoenix metropolitan area, the emergence of age-restricted communities, and federal programs reset the social, economic, and political algorithms of the community. Internally, changing demographics, racial and ethnic diversity, and an ever-expanding population produced differing and continuously evolving ideas about community identity, a matter of intense importance to many. For seven decades, Surprise residents with competing ideas about place came into conflict. Concurrently, these individuals participated in official and vernacular events, activities, and celebrations. These gatherings, which evolved as the town grew and changed, also shaped community identity. While attending the Fourth of July festivities or debating city leaders' decisions at town council meetings, Surprise residents defined and redefined their community.

Contributors

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Stages and Streets: Space, Race, and Gender in the Experience of Modernity in New York and San Francisco Nightlife, 1890–1930

Description

This dissertation examines the history of urban nightlife in New York City and San Francisco from 1890 to 1930 and charts the manifestation of modernity within these cities. While some

This dissertation examines the history of urban nightlife in New York City and San Francisco from 1890 to 1930 and charts the manifestation of modernity within these cities. While some urbanites tepidly embraced this new modern world, others resisted. Chafing at this seemingly unmoored world, some Americans fretted about one of the most visible effects of modernity on the city—the encroachment of sex onto the street and in commercial amusements—and sought to wield the power of the state to suppress it. Even those Americans who reveled in the new modern world grappled with what this shifting culture ultimately meant for their lives, seeking familiarity where they could find it. Thus, this dissertation details how both Americans who embraced the modern world and those who perceived it as a threatening menace similarly sought a mediated modernity, seeking out and organizing spaces within modern amusements that ultimately reinforced existing cultural hierarchies.

Using the lens of spatial analysis, this dissertation examines how different groups of Americans used the spaces of nighttime amusement to interrogate how nightlife culture reflected and reinforced dynamics of power in a historical moment when social movements seemed to be upending existing power structures of race, class, and gender. Pioneering works in the field of the history of popular amusements tend to frame the experience of commercial amusements—and by extension modern life—as a liberating force lifting Americans from the staid traditions of the nineteenth century. But this dissertation charts the way Americans sought to moderate the effects of modern life, even as they delighted in it. Even as the modern world seemed on the cusp of overturning social hierarchy, Americans found comfort in amusements that structured space to reaffirm the status quo; while so much of the modern world appeared to break with the past, existing structures of social power remained very much the same.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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From State Exposition Building to Science Center: Changing Ideals of Progress in Los Angeles, 1873-1992

Description

Los Angeles long served as a center of technological and scientific innovation and production, from nineteenth-century agriculture to twentieth-century aerospace. City boosters used spectacle-filled promotional strategies to build and maintain

Los Angeles long served as a center of technological and scientific innovation and production, from nineteenth-century agriculture to twentieth-century aerospace. City boosters used spectacle-filled promotional strategies to build and maintain technological supremacy through industry. Evaluating the city’s premier industry-focused science museum, the California Science Center, is therefore a must. The California Science Center is one of the most-visited museums in the United States and is in the historic Exposition Park. Yet, no thorough analysis has been done on its influential history. This dissertation is an interdisciplinary study of the California Science Center, from its 1870s beginnings as an agricultural fairground, to the construction of the world’s fair-inspired State Exposition Building in the 1910s, to its post-World War II redesign as the California Museum of Science and Industry. It uses regional history, design history, and museum studies to evaluate the people behind the museum’s construction and development, how they shaped exhibits, and the ideologies of progress they presented to the public. This dissertation builds on established historical components in Los Angeles’ image-making, primarily boosterism, spectacular display, and racism. The museum operated as part of the booster apparatus. Influential residents constructed Exposition Park and served on the museum board. In its earliest days, exhibits presented Anglo Los Angeles as a civilizing force through scientific farming. During the Cold War, boosters shifted to promote Los Angeles as a mecca of modern living, and the museum presented technology as safe and necessary to democracy. Local industries and designers featured centrally in this narrative. Boosters also used spectacle to ensure impact. Dioramas, Hollywood special effects, and simulated interactive experiences enticed visitors to return again and again. Meanwhile, non-white residents either became romanticized, as in the case of the Mexican Californios, or ignored, as seen in the museum’s surrounding neighborhood, primarily-African American, South Central. Anglo elites removed non-whites from the city’s narrative of progress. Ultimately, this dissertation shows that the museum communicated city leaders’ ideologies of progress and dictated exhibit narratives. This study adds nuance to image-making in Los Angeles, as well as furthering regional analysis of science museums in the United States.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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First ladies as modern celebrities: politics and the press in Progressive Era

Description

Historians often characterize first ladies in the Progressive Era as representatives of the last vestiges of Victorian womanhood in an increasingly modern society. This dissertation argues that first ladies negotiated

Historians often characterize first ladies in the Progressive Era as representatives of the last vestiges of Victorian womanhood in an increasingly modern society. This dissertation argues that first ladies negotiated an image of themselves that fulfilled both traditional and modern notions of womanhood. In crafting these images, first ladies constructed images of their celebrity selves that were uniquely modern. Thus, images of first ladies in the Progressive Era show them as modest and feminine but also autonomous, intelligent, and capable. Using the historian Charles Ponce de Leon's research on modern human-interest journalism, I contend that first ladies in the Progressive Era worked with the modern press in a symbiotic relationship. This relationship allowed the press exclusive access to what was, ostensibly, the first lady's private, and therefore authentic, self. By purporting to reveal parts of their private lives in the press, first ladies showed themselves as down-to-earth despite their success and fulfilled by their domestic pursuits despite their compelling public lives. By offering the press exclusive access to their lives, first ladies secured the opportunity to shape specific images of themselves to appeal, as broadly as possible, to their husbands and parties' constituents and the American public. First ladies in the Progressive Era thus acted as political figures by using both public and private, or what historian Catherine Allgor terms, "unofficial spaces" to support and reflect their husbands and parties' political agendas. In examining representations of first ladies in popular magazines and newspapers from 1901 to 1921 in tandem with letters, memoirs, and other personal papers from these women, a clear pattern emerges. Despite personal differences, first ladies in the Progressive Era represented themselves according to a specific formula in the modern press. The images, constructed by first ladies in this time period, reflect shifts in economic, social, and political life in Progressive Era America, which called for women to be independent and intelligent yet still maintain their femininity and domesticity.

Contributors

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Date Created
  • 2011