On this week’s Past Present podcast, Nicole Hemmer, Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, and Neil Young discuss Flint’s water crisis, New York values, and Wheaton College.
Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:
- The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is the latest challenge this post-industrial town has faced. Niki recommended the book, Environmental Inequalities, an examination of industrial pollution and structural racism in Gary, Indiana, as a way of understanding Flint. Neil cited data from Andrew Highsmith’s history of Flint, Demolition Means Progress, about how the sharp decline in manufacturing jobs led to the city’s depopulation and shrinking tax base.
- Ted Cruz is attacking Donald Trump for exhibiting “New York values,” but what does that mean? Niki pointed out anti-urban sentiment in America stretched back to Thomas Jefferson’s vision of an agrarian-based democracy. Niki has written about the history of New York’s complicated status among conservatives. Neil argued the idea of a “real America” depended in part on the “Southernization” of America, as books like John Egerton’s The Americanization of Dixie and Peter Abblebome’s Dixie Rising have shown. Niki noted cities have attracted Americans who felt oppressed or stifled in their small towns, such as the men of George Chauncey’s Gay New York who found freedom and community by moving to Manhattan.
- Wheaton College has suspended Prof. Larycia Hawkins over comments she made that Christians and Muslims “worship the same God” which were seen as a violation of the evangelical school’s Statement of Faith. Neil noted that both supporters and critics of Hawkins have looked to Wheaton’s history to bolster their positions.
What’s Making History
- Natalia talked about “Turning the Tide,” a call for college admissions reform from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a New York Times’ report on a New Jersey school district’s plans to ease pressures on its students.
- Neil commented on what Donald Trump’s candidacy says about the state of the Religious Right today in light of his recent appearance at Liberty University.
- Niki discussed National Review’s decision to devote an entire issue of the magazine to opposing Trump.