George Derek Musgrove’s research on gentrification in the nation’s capital featured in the Washington Post

musgroveIn advance of the annual Conference on D.C. Historical Studies, the Washington Post highlighted research by George Derek Musgrove ’97, history, associate professor of history, that identifies four distinct waves of gentrification in Washington, D.C. and reflects residents’ viewpoints of how it has impacted the city.

At the D.C. historical studies conference, Musgrove presented a talk with his colleague Chris Myers Asch at the University of the District of Columbia titled “We Are Headed for Some Bad Trouble: Gentrification and Displacement in Washington, D.C., 1920-2014.” Musgrove and Asch were part of a panel discussion to assess how historical patterns of race- and class-based inequality shape today’s urban landscape in Washington.

The talk was previewed in the Washington Post by columnist John Kelly. In his research, Musgrove identified the first wave of gentrification in 1920s Georgetown: “[Musgrove] said that when gentrification later moved across other neighborhoods, people would say they didn’t want them to end up ‘like Georgetown,’ which was seen as exclusive — and nearly exclusively white.

Poorer white residents moving out of neighborhoods such as Anacostia had ample housing options. But blacks were constrained by segregation and restrictive covenants. Policies such as rent control have allowed some neighborhoods, such as Adams Morgan, to remain diverse,” Musgrove said in the article.

“Our purpose in writing this was to give people an idea of how old gentrification is in the city and, in the process, to give people an idea of why older residents in particular react to it in the way that they do,” he added.

Last year, Musgrove was interviewed by WAMU’s Metro Connection program about his gentrification research.

Humanities Forum: Freedom Marooned: An Atlantic Slave Rebellion in the Dutch Caribbean (12/2)

Marjoleine KarsHumanities Forum
Marjoleine Kars, Dresher Center fellow, chair and associate professor of history, UMBC
Wednesday, December 2 | 4 pm
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery 

In 1763-1764, five thousand slaves in the Dutch colony of Berbice in South America rebelled. The extraordinary judicial records of the uprising allow for an examination of the internal dynamics of rebellion. Mapping the politics among the enslaved, rather than merely their interactions with European colonists, shines a light on the many Afro-Berbicians who, eager to remain both master-less and alive, struggled to dodge all combatants, whether Dutch and their Amerindian allies, or rebels. Their inventive coping strategies, not commonly examined in slave rebellions, suggest that historians’ usual binaries of freedom and slavery, or “rebellious” and “loyal,” simplify complex dynamics. The Berbice rebellion clues us in to the existence of alternative, and competing, notions of what life beyond European slavery might look like. Focusing on the internal dynamics also exposes the importance of gender. The available evidence suggests that while men and women shared much in the rebellion, their experiences also powerfully diverged. For women, rebellion proved much less liberating than we have assumed.  This talk, then, examines a major slave rebellion from the bottom up, yielding new understandings of insurgency.

Marjoleine Kars, Associate Professor of History and Chair, UMBC, is finishing a book about the slave rebellion in Berbice. An article about the role of gender in the Berbice rebellion will appear in early 2016 in the American Historical Review. She has previously written a book about a farmers’ rebellion in pre-revolutionary North Carolina: “Breaking Loose Together”: The Regulator Rebellion in Pre-Revolutionary North Carolina (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002).  She was a Dresher Center fellow in spring 2015.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities and the History Department.

Humanities Forum: China’s Forgotten Gated Communities (11/18)

Tong LamHumanities Forum
Tong Lam, photographer and associate professor of history, University of Toronto
Wednesday, November 18 | 5:30 pm
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery 

In post-socialist China, gated communities have become conspicuous symbols of affluence for the country’s rising middle class amid the so-called “economic miracle.” However, Chinese cities also have many not-so-visible neighborhoods with mostly low-income migrant workers from the countryside that are physically being gated off in the name of urban beautification and social management. This talk uses a research-driven visual project to examine the systematic dispossession, exploitation, and social discrimination that take place in these forgotten urban sites.

Tong Lam is a historian and visual artist. His research interests include modern and contemporary China, technoscience, media and spectacle, cities, colonialism, and nationalism. As a visual artist, he uses photographic and cinematographic techniques to document China’s hysterical growth, and to analyze the debris of history in industrial and post-industrial societies. He is the author of A Passion for Facts: Social Surveys and the Construction of the Chinese Nation-State, 1900-1949 (2011), and the photo-essay book Abandoned Futures (2013). He received his PhD in History from the University of Chicago and is Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities; the Visual Arts Department; the History Department; the Asian Studies Program; and the Global Studies Department.

Christy Chapin Analyzes the Evolution of the American Health Care System During the 20th Century

Christy Chapin, an assistant professor of history, recently joined the Harvard University podcast This Week in Health Law for a discussion about the history of health care in the United States. Chapin is author of the new book Ensuring America’s Health: The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Care System, which was published earlier this year by Cambridge University Press.

Ensuring America's HealthThe wide-ranging interview covered several topics including how many ideas to save costs today are similar to ideas presented in the decades spanning the 20th century, what health policy would look like if it were better informed by history, and the validity of the conventional wisdom on the post World War II rise of employer-sponsored health insurance.

“People often connect the employer provision almost solely to World War II wage and price controls saying it really took off then because employers wanted to attract scarce labor. They had wage controls, and they could at least offer these benefits,” Chapin explained in the podcast. “But in reading other historians…they took issue with that. I went back and looked at the statistics and found that you do see some growth in health insurance during World War II, but nothing unusual.”

Chapin noted that a lot of the growth was due to the benefit that employers received from the government in the indirect form of subsidization.

Listen to the complete interview on Harvard’s This Week in Health Law website.

Kate Brown Wins Seventh Award for Plutopia

plutopiaOn October 5, the American Historical Association (AHA) announced its 2015 prize winners. Kate Brown, a professor of history, won the John H. Dunning Prize for her book Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters (Oxford University Press, 2013). The prize is awarded biennially for an outstanding monograph on any subject relating to U.S. history.

The honor is the seventh award for Plutopia, which has been recognized by organizations like the American Society for Environmental History, Western History Association, and Organization of American Historians.

In a press release announcing the award, the AHA stated: “This year’s finalists were selected from a field of almost 1,500 entries by nearly 100 dedicated prize committee members. The names, publications, and projects of those who received these awards are a catalogue of the best work produced in the historical discipline.”

The awards ceremony will be held January 7 at the 130th Annual Meeting of the AHA in Atlanta. Read the full press release announcing the 2015 AHA awards. Read more about Brown’s previous awards for Plutopia.

Humanities Forum: The Republic of the Unlettered: Intellectual History, The Enlightenment, and the Law in the Spanish Empire (10/21)

Bianca PremoHumanities Forum, Webb Lecture
Bianca Premo, associate professor of history, Florida International University
Wednesday, October 21 | 4 pm
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery 

This talk explores what it means to write an intellectual history of the Enlightenment among people who could not read or write—namely enslaved people, women, and the indigenous inhabitants of the colonial Spanish America who sued in royal courts during the eighteenth century.

Bianca Premo is associate professor of Latin American history at Florida International University. She has written on diverse topics including the history of childhood in colonial Peru, native women in the Andes and Mexico, slavery, and jurisprudence and legal thought in the Spanish empire. Her latest book project is entitled The Enlightenment on Trial: Ordinary Litigation and Colonialism in the Spanish Empire, and it is the product of research in over a dozen archives in Spain, Mexico and Peru.

Sponsored by the History Department and the Dresher Center for the Humanities.

Christy Chapin, History, Publishes New Book About the History of the American Health Care System

Christy ChapinChristy Chapin, an assistant professor of history, recently published a new book which traces how private and public interests merged to place insurance companies at the center of the U.S. healthcare system. The book, Ensuring America’s Health: The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Care Systemwas published earlier this year by Cambridge University Press.

“Christy Chapin’s Ensuring America’s Health changes the scholarly conversation about the history of our health care system. It explains how both public and private forces created Medicare in 1965 and how the ‘insurance company model’ of health care finance has prevailed ever since. This book is the best treatment we have of the historical dimensions of our current health care crisis and will prove to be an indispensable resource for historians and policy makers,” stated Edward Berkowitz of George Washington University in a review.

Ensuring America's HealthChapin’s research interests include political, business, economic history, and capitalism studies and she is a scholar of twentieth-century political history. She recently wrote a blog post in Public Seminar which discusses the history of health care financing and said of her new book: “It’s a story about insurance company power and how, among other problems, this corporate dominance has fueled high health care costs.”

In another column posted on the History News Network website, Chapin noted that it’s important to look back to the early twentieth century to understand rising health care costs and insurance company mergers, writing “AMA leaders spent decades attacking health care financing experiments that they believed would evolve into corporations. They worried that doctors would be pulled into large bureaucratic organizations under the supervision of non-physicians.  Consequently, AMA officials fought both health insurance and group practice – any market form that might develop into a corporation.”

Read more about Professor Chapin’s work on the history department website.