When New York City Almost Failed

Public Seminar had the privilege of printing an excerpt of historian Kim Phillips-Fein’s recent book, Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and The Rise of Austerity Politics. Originally published in 2017 by Metropolitan Books, it is now available in paperback from Picador. The book tells a complex story of an iconic moment in the so-called “urban crisis” of the 1970s, in … More When New York City Almost Failed

Why Can’t Women Bridge the Left-Right Divide?

When did coalitional organizing between feminists and conservative women become impossible? I’m not sure, but as a feminist there is one place and time that I remember vividly: Indianapolis in the spring of 1984. There, led by Mayor William Hudnut, III Republican politician Beulah Coughenour and local movement conservatives, that city became one of the … More Why Can’t Women Bridge the Left-Right Divide?

Elections Turn On Policy, Not Public Relations

My liberal and left-wing friends continue to puzzle over a single, unanswerable question: why do white, working class people vote “against their interests”?Perhaps the reason that this is an unanswerable question is that it is the wrong question. I would like to suggest that they don’t vote against their own interests– or at least, that when voters … More Elections Turn On Policy, Not Public Relations

Why We Return to Certain Books Like Clockwork

This post was originally published at Public Seminar on February 7, 2018 When people ask me what I am teaching this semester, I bury the lede. I first describe my exciting, five-section strong introduction to Internet studies. Then there is the big reveal: “I am also teaching a core course in our history graduate program,” … More Why We Return to Certain Books Like Clockwork

When Women Fight for Health Care: Public Seminar, July 31, 2017

We are all still breathless from last week’s near-repeal of Obamacare. As two Republican Senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, stood between the American public and a bill that would cut Medicare, defund Planned Parenthood, and throw the insurance industry into turmoil, keeping the consequences of the different bills straight became … More When Women Fight for Health Care: Public Seminar, July 31, 2017