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(Dis)Placed Urban Histories

Semester and Year SP 2017
Course Number IDSEM-UG1826
Section 001
Instructor Rebecca Amato
Days F
Time 3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   HUM



Neighborhood change comes in many varieties. Mid-twentieth century urban renewal in U.S. cities brought bulldozers and tower-in-the-park housing developments to dozens of poor neighborhoods considered ripe for revision. Early-twenty-first century gentrification, meanwhile, has brought high-end commerce and affluence to areas once occupied by low-income and working class communities. In the Melrose section of the South Bronx, a series of changes have influenced the streetscapes and lives of residents. Rampant arson in the 1970s and 1980s destroyed acres of the neighborhood, for example, while migrants from Puerto Rico and immigrants from the Dominican Republic, West Africa, and Bangladesh, among others, settled in the remaining homes of Melrose to build new lives in a new city. Most recently, federal dollars have been earmarked for Melrose’s reconstruction and redevelopment. This course, offered in partnership with the Bronx-based community empowerment organization WHEDCo, invites students to become activist historians whose objective is to learn what histories are at risk of being silenced or displaced as the South Bronx changes. Students will conduct archival and secondary research; produce collaborative oral histories with neighborhood residents and business owners; and meet with activists who are working to protect the interests of the current community of Melrose. The course will culminate in an on-line archive and a physical, history-based exhibit to be co-produced with neighborhood residents and displayed in a publicly accessible, outdoor park. Readings may include Jonathan Mahler’s  Ladies and Gentlemen the Bronx is Burning  and Jill Jonnes’s  South Bronx Rising .


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Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)