University of Pennsylvania Press

Politics and Culture in Modern America

Series Editors: Margot Canaday, Glenda Gilmore, Michael Kazin, Thomas J. Sugrue

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

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Politics and Culture in Modern America

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Beyond Civil Rights

The Moynihan Report and Its Legacy

By Daniel Geary

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Beyond Rust

Metropolitan Pittsburgh and the Fate of Industrial America

By Allen Dieterich-Ward

Beyond Rust chronicles the rise, fall, and rebirth of metropolitan Pittsburgh, an industrial region that once formed the heart of the world's steel production and is now touted as a model for reviving other hard-hit cities of the Rust Belt. Writing in clear and engaging prose, historian and area native Allen Dieterich-Ward provides a new model for a truly metropolitan history that integrates the urban core with its regional hinterland of satellite cities, white-collar suburbs, mill towns, and rural mining areas.

Pittsburgh reached its industrial heyday between 1880 and 1920, as vertically integrated industrial corporations forged a regional community in the mountainous Upper Ohio River Valley. Over subsequent decades, metropolitan population growth slowed as mining and manufacturing employment declined. Faced with economic and environmental disaster in the 1930s, Pittsburgh's business elite and political leaders developed an ambitious program of pollution control and infrastructure development. The public-private partnership behind the "Pittsburgh Renaissance," as advocates called it, pursued nothing less than the selective erasure of the existing social and physical environment in favor of a modernist, functionally divided landscape: a goal that was widely copied by other aging cities and one that has important ramifications for the broader national story. Ultimately, the Renaissance vision of downtown skyscrapers, sleek suburban research campuses, and bucolic regional parks resulted in an uneven transformation that tore the urban fabric while leaving deindustrializing river valleys and impoverished coal towns isolated from areas of postwar growth.

Beyond Rust is among the first books of its kind to continue past the collapse of American manufacturing in the 1980s by exploring the diverse ways residents of an iconic industrial region sought places for themselves within a new economic order.

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Billy Graham and the Rise of the Republican South

By Steven P. Miller

While spreading the gospel around the world through his signature crusades, internationally renowned evangelist Billy Graham maintained a visible and controversial presence in his native South, a region that underwent substantial political and economic change in the latter half of the twentieth century. In this period Graham was alternately a desegregating crusader in Alabama, Sunbelt booster in Atlanta, regional apologist in the national press, and southern strategist in the Nixon administration.

Billy Graham and the Rise of the Republican South considers the critical but underappreciated role of the noted evangelist in the creation of the modern American South. The region experienced two significant related shifts away from its status as what observers and critics called the "Solid South": the end of legalized Jim Crow and the end of Democratic Party dominance. Author Steven P. Miller treats Graham as a serious actor and a powerful symbol in this transition—an evangelist first and foremost, but also a profoundly political figure. In his roles as the nation's most visible evangelist, adviser to political leaders, and a regional spokesperson, Graham influenced many of the developments that drove celebrants and detractors alike to place the South at the vanguard of political, religious, and cultural trends. He forged a path on which white southern moderates could retreat from Jim Crow, while his evangelical critique of white supremacy portended the emergence of "color blind" rhetoric within mainstream conservatism. Through his involvement in the Eisenhower and Nixon administrations, as well as his deep social ties in the South, the evangelist influenced the decades-long process of political realignment.

Graham's public life sheds new light on recent southern history in all of its ambiguities, and his social and political ethics complicate conventional understandings of evangelical Christianity in postwar America. Miller's book seeks to reintroduce a familiar figure to the narrative of southern history and, in the process, examine the political and social transitions constitutive of the modern South.

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Biotech

The Countercultural Origins of an Industry

By Eric J. Vettel

The seemingly unlimited reach of powerful biotechnologies and the attendant growth of the multibillion-dollar industry have raised difficult questions about the scientific discoveries, political assumptions, and cultural patterns that gave rise to for-profit biological research. Given such extraordinary stakes, a history of the commercial biotechnology industry must inquire far beyond the predictable attention to scientists, discovery, and corporate sales. It must pursue how something so complex as the biotechnology industry was born, poised to become both a vanguard for contemporary world capitalism and a focal point for polemic ethical debate.

In Biotech, Eric J. Vettel chronicles the story behind genetic engineering, recombinant DNA, cloning, and stem-cell research. It is a story about the meteoric rise of government support for scientific research during the Cold War, about activists and student protesters in the Vietnam era pressing for a new purpose in science, about politicians creating policy that alters the course of science, and also about the release of powerful entrepreneurial energies in universities and in venture capital that few realized existed. Most of all, it is a story about people—not just biologists but also followers and opponents who knew nothing about the biological sciences yet cared deeply about how biological research was done and how the resulting knowledge was used.

Vettel weaves together these stories to illustrate how the biotechnology industry was born in the San Francisco Bay area, examining the anomalies, ironies, and paradoxes that contributed to its rise. Culled from oral histories, university records, and private corporate archives, including Cetus, the world's first biotechnology company, this compelling history shows how a cultural and political revolution in the 1960s resulted in a new scientific order: the practical application of biological knowledge supported by private investors expecting profitable returns eclipsed basic research supported by government agencies.

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California Crucible

The Forging of Modern American Liberalism

By Jonathan Bell

In the three decades following World War II, the Golden State was not only the fastest-growing state in the Union but also the site of significant political change. From the late 1940s through the mid-1970s, a generation of liberal activists transformed the political landscape of California, ending Republican dominance of state politics and eventually setting the tone for the Democratic Party nationwide.

In California Crucible, Jonathan Bell chronicles this dramatic story of postwar liberalism—from early grassroots organizing and the election of Pat Brown as governor in 1958 to the civil rights campaigns of the 1960s and the campaigns against the New Right in the 1970s. As Bell argues, the emergent "California liberalism" was a distinctly post-New Deal phenomenon that drew on the ambitious ideals of the New Deal but adapted them to a diverse population. The result was a broad coalition that sought to extend social democracy to marginalized groups—such as gay rights and civil rights organizations—that had not been well served by the Democratic Party in earlier decades. In building this coalition, liberal activists forged an ideology capable of bringing Latino farm workers, African American civil rights activists, and wealthy suburban homemakers into a shared political project.

By exploring California Democrats' largely successful attempts to link economic rights to civil rights and serve the needs of diverse groups, Bell challenges common assumptions about the rise of the New Right and the decline of American liberalism in the postwar era. As Bell shows, by the end of the 1970s California had become the spiritual home of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party as much as that of the Reagan Revolution.

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Camden After the Fall

Decline and Renewal in a Post-Industrial City

By Howard Gillette, Jr.

What prevents cities whose economies have been devastated by the flight of human and monetary capital from returning to self-sufficiency? Looking at the cumulative effects of urban decline in the classic post-industrial city of Camden, New Jersey, historian Howard Gillette, Jr., probes the interaction of politics, economic restructuring, and racial bias to evaluate contemporary efforts at revitalization. In a sweeping analysis, Gillette identifies a number of related factors to explain this phenomenon, including the corrosive effects of concentrated poverty, environmental injustice, and a political bias that favors suburban amenity over urban reconstruction.

Challenging popular perceptions that poor people are responsible for the untenable living conditions in which they find themselves, Gillette reveals how the effects of political decisions made over the past half century have combined with structural inequities to sustain and prolong a city's impoverishment. Even the most admirable efforts to rebuild neighborhoods through community development and the reinvention of downtowns as tourist destinations are inadequate solutions, Gillette argues. He maintains that only a concerted regional planning response—in which a city and suburbs cooperate—is capable of achieving true revitalization. Though such a response is mandated in Camden as part of an unprecedented state intervention, its success is still not assured, given the legacy of outside antagonism to the city and its residents.

Deeply researched and forcefully argued, Camden After the Fall chronicles the history of the post-industrial American city and points toward a sustained urban revitalization strategy for the twenty-first century.

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Citizens of a Christian Nation

Evangelical Missions and the Problem of Race in the Nineteenth Century

By Derek Chang

In America after the Civil War, the emancipation of four million slaves and the explosion of Chinese immigration fundamentally challenged traditional ideas about who belonged in the national polity. As Americans struggled to redefine citizenship in the United States, the "Negro Problem" and the "Chinese Question" dominated the debate.

During this turbulent period, which witnessed the Supreme Court's Plessy v. Ferguson decision and passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, among other restrictive measures, American Baptists promoted religion instead of race as the primary marker of citizenship. Through its domestic missionary wing, the American Baptist Home Missionary Society, Baptists ministered to former slaves in the South and Chinese immigrants on the Pacific coast. Espousing an ideology of evangelical nationalism, in which the country would be united around Christianity rather than a particular race or creed, Baptists advocated inclusion of Chinese and African Americans in the national polity. Their hope for a Christian nation hinged on the social transformation of these two groups through spiritual and educational uplift. By 1900, the Society had helped establish important institutions that are still active today, including the Chinese Baptist Church and many historically black colleges and universities.

Citizens of a Christian Nation chronicles the intertwined lives of African Americans, Chinese Americans, and the white missionaries who ministered to them. It traces the radical, religious, and nationalist ideology of the domestic mission movement, examining both the opportunities provided by the egalitarian tradition of evangelical Christianity and the limits imposed by its assumptions of cultural difference. The book further explores how blacks and Chinese reimagined the evangelical nationalist project to suit their own needs and hopes.

Historian Derek Chang brings together for the first time African American and Chinese American religious histories through a multitiered local, regional, national, and even transnational analysis of race, nationalism, and evangelical thought and practice.

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Death of a Suburban Dream

Race and Schools in Compton, California

By Emily E. Straus

Compton, California, is often associated in the public mind with urban America's toughest problems, including economic disinvestment, gang violence, and failing public schools. Before it became synonymous with inner-city decay, however, Compton's affordability, proximity to manufacturing jobs, and location ten miles outside downtown Los Angeles made it attractive to aspiring suburbanites seeking single-family homes and quality schools. As Compton faced challenges in the twentieth century, and as the majority population shifted from white to African American and then to Latino, the battle for control over the school district became symbolic of Compton's economic, social, and political crises.

Death of a Suburban Dream explores the history of Compton from its founding in the late nineteenth century to the present, taking on three critical issues—the history of race and educational equity, the relationship between schools and place, and the complicated intersection of schooling and municipal economies—as they shaped a Los Angeles suburb experiencing economic and demographic transformation. Emily E. Straus carefully traces the roots of antagonism between two historically disenfranchised populations, blacks and Latinos, as these groups resisted municipal power sharing within a context of scarcity. Using archival research and oral histories, this complex narrative reveals how increasingly racialized poverty and violence made Compton, like other inner-ring suburbs, resemble a troubled urban center. Ultimately, the book argues that Compton's school crisis is not, at heart, a crisis of education; it is a long-term crisis of development.

Avoiding simplistic dichotomies between urban and suburban, Death of a Suburban Dream broadens our understanding of the dynamics connecting residents and institutions of the suburbs, as well as the changing ethnic and political landscape in metropolitan America.

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The Employee

A Political History

By Jean-Christian Vinel

In the present age of temp work, telecommuting, and outsourcing, millions of workers in the United States find themselves excluded from the category of "employee"—a crucial distinction that would otherwise permit unionization and collective bargaining. Tracing the history of the term since its entry into the public lexicon in the nineteenth century, Jean-Christian Vinel demonstrates that the legal definition of "employee" has always been politically contested and deeply affected by competing claims on the part of business and labor. Unique in the Western world, American labor law is premised on the notion that "no man can serve two masters"—workers owe loyalty to their employer, which in many cases is incompatible with union membership.

The Employee: A Political History historicizes this American exception to international standards of rights and liberties at work, revealing a little known part of the business struggle against the New Deal. Early on, progressives and liberals developed a labor regime that, intending to restore amicable relations between employer and employee, sought to include as many workers as possible in the latter category. But in the 1940s this language of social harmony met with increasing resistance from businessmen, who pressed their interests in Congress and the federal courts, pushing for an ever-narrower definition of "employee" that excluded groups such as foremen, supervisors, and knowledge workers. A cultural and political history of American business and law, The Employee sheds historical light on contemporary struggles for economic democracy and political power in the workplace.

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Faithful Republic

Religion and Politics in Modern America

Edited by Andrew Preston, Bruce J. Schulman, and Julian E. Zelizer

Despite constitutional limitations, the points of contact between religion and politics have deeply affected all aspects of American political development since the founding of the United States. Within partisan politics, federal institutions, and movement activism, religion and politics have rarely ever been truly separate; rather, they are two forms of cultural expression that are continually coevolving and reconfiguring in the face of social change.

Faithful Republic explores the dynamics between religion and politics in the United States from the early twentieth century to the present. Rather than focusing on the traditional question of the separation between church and state, this volume touches on many aspects of American political history, addressing divorce, civil rights, liberalism and conservatism, domestic policy, and economics. Together, the essays blend church history and lived religion to fashion an innovative kind of political history, demonstrating the pervasiveness of religion throughout American political life.

Contributors: Lila Corwin Berman, Edward J. Blum, Darren Dochuk, Lily Geismer, Alison Collis Greene, Matthew S. Hedstrom, David Mislin, Andrew Preston, Bruce J. Schulman, Molly Worthen, Julian E. Zelizer.

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