To bring together scholars who explain historical phenomena using the methods of the social sciences

Preliminary Programme

Wed 4 April
    8.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 5 April
    8.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Fri 6 April
    8.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Sat 7 April
    8.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

All days
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Wednesday 4 April 2018 8.30 - 10.30
J-1 - URB01 : Sinful Cities
MST/OG/010 Main Site Tower
Network: Urban Chair: John Davis
Organizers: -Discussants: -
Cristina de Pedro Álvarez : Saucy Madrid. Sexual Behaviors in the Early 20th Century Urban Societies
During the first decades of the 20th century Madrid, in line with already experiences lived in other cities of the European and American context, experienced a strong and complex modernization process affecting all aspects of the city life. Madrid was the protagonist of a succession of transformations which were perceived ... (Show more)
During the first decades of the 20th century Madrid, in line with already experiences lived in other cities of the European and American context, experienced a strong and complex modernization process affecting all aspects of the city life. Madrid was the protagonist of a succession of transformations which were perceived not only in its spatial physiognomy or its demographic configuration, the distribution of streets and neighborhoods, the extension of transport or the metamorphosis of its labor market, but also, and simultaneously, in the emergence of new identities and behaviors among those who daily inhabited. A new way of urban life began to be visible in the streets of the capital, not as a new code or closed and coherent model assumed in all its spaciousness, except rather in the way of attitudes and acquired knowledge through live experience, which interweaved and came into contact - and sometimes in confrontation-with other modus vivendi more linked to the guidelines of the nineteenth-century city or the not-so-distant rural world which had soaked into the city through its thousands of immigrants.

This research aims to analyze the transformations that the urban experience and the modernization processes in Madrid imposed in the models and patterns of sexual behavior of the Madrilenian society during the first decades of the 20Th century. These changes found in the new urban context a favorable environment where to bear fruit. Among other factors, the easy and quick access to increasingly diverse flows of information through new mass media communication was one of the hallmarks of that context, in which the implosion of the large cultural industries went hand in hand with the extension of literacy, thereby generating an incipient modern urban culture in which sexuality acquired a growing role in the public scene. Madrid became, thus, considering this new situation of confrontation of diverse and contradictory discourses and ideas about sexuality, displayed in movies, magazines, advertising, literature, lectures, meetings, etc., which strove with similar impetus in the construction of social imaginaries about sexual subjects. The objective of this project seeks not only to undertake the description of discourses and representations in conflict but above all to show the social practices in which they took shape, also reflecting on the complex way in which new and old values were appropriate for the different groups setting up the Madrilenian society of the time. Sources of various kinds and origin were used, which include records of municipal registration, summaries from Courts of First Instance and Instruction related to sexual offences, as well as other judicial and police documents in relation to the publishing of erotic literature and peepshow theater premiers plays will be used for this purpose. (Show less)

Tammy Ingram : The Wickedest City in America
My article will explore the origins of organized crime in the post-Civil War South. It is drawn from my current book project, tentatively titled The Wickedest City in America: Sex, Race, and Organized Crime in the American South, which recovers the story of how a tiny, vice-ridden city along the ... (Show more)
My article will explore the origins of organized crime in the post-Civil War South. It is drawn from my current book project, tentatively titled The Wickedest City in America: Sex, Race, and Organized Crime in the American South, which recovers the story of how a tiny, vice-ridden city along the Chattahoochee River—Phenix City, Alabama—became the headquarters for organized crime in the South between the Civil War and the Cold War. While Phenix City did not have a monopoly on vice in the postwar South, its high concentration of gambling dens, illegal bars, and prostitution rings made it notorious in the Southeast. But the revelation that the Phenix City crime ring had ties to the state capitol and beyond made it a household name.

Phenix City made national and international headlines in 1954, when Albert Patterson was gunned down outside of his law office. Patterson had once defended local racketeers in court, but by the early 1950s he had become a prominent leader of a local anti-vice group. His campaign to become Attorney General scared Phenix City mobsters and their cronies in public office. When their efforts to rig the Democratic primary failed and Patterson won, they killed him to silence him. The three men indicted for his murder were the mob’s main political operatives: the city solicitor, the chief deputy, and Silas Garrett, the sitting attorney general of the state of Alabama. The killing exposed the salacious details of the Phenix City crime ring to a wide audience through the Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage by a local newspaper and, just a year later, a feature length film by director Phil Karlson (most famous for Kansas City Confidential and, sadly, an Elvis Presley film called Kid Galahad). But it also dealt the death blow to the mob. When their reign came to an end, so did an era of unparalleled government corruption.

I will frame my article with the Patterson case, but the article’s focus will be the early years of the Phenix City crime ring—which roughly parallel the origins of Jim Crow. My preliminary research suggests that crime in Phenix City was inextricably linked to electoral politics by the turn of the twentieth century. This, I think, makes the story of organized crime in the South unique. Unlike more famous crime syndicates in New York or Chicago, the Phenix City mob did not have its origins in immigrant neighborhoods or in local, state, or federal prohibition laws. Instead, it emerged from the power vacuum that existed following the Civil War and the failure of Reconstruction. Political and economic unrest, sexual and racial tensions, and a wholesale breakdown in law and order created ideal conditions for criminal enterprises throughout the war-torn South, but they took root in Phenix City, a river city and border town where mill villages and later an army base provided much of the clientele for a lucrative vice industry.

While I will offer an overview of the period between the Civil War and the Cold War, my article will focus on the period between Reconstruction and 1916, when a state prohibition law sparked the city’s first serious anti-vice campaign. Although the campaign failed, the criminal investigations it launched shed light on the extent of criminal activities in Phenix City. No historian has examined that campaign or the early years of the rackets in Phenix City, or even organized crime in the South more generally. (Show less)

Peter Jones : The Strange Case of Ann Copeland Corruption in the Belfast Public Housing Sector 1953-54
In October 1953 Belfast Corporation established an inquiry into the allocation of council houses. The Inquiry was chaired by Bradley McCall QC. He called 82 witnesses and the Inquiry sat for 27 days. The shortage of adequate public housing had been well known since at least the 1930s and the ... (Show more)
In October 1953 Belfast Corporation established an inquiry into the allocation of council houses. The Inquiry was chaired by Bradley McCall QC. He called 82 witnesses and the Inquiry sat for 27 days. The shortage of adequate public housing had been well known since at least the 1930s and the German air-raid of 1941 exacerbated the issue. The Inquiry raised issues relating to the efficacy of the Corporation's housing policy; the conduct of officials in the housing and estates department; and the conduct of members of the medical profession. At the centre of a corruption ring sat Ann Copeland whose string of contacts enabled her to procure bribes for securing a council house. The falsification of medical certificates signified collusion with the medical profession. The Inquiry reveals that the housing crisis of the 1950s provided an opportunity for renewed ethnic-religious sorting in the housing market. Was this scam an attempt to avoid the consequences of another religious riot so that people could be with their own 'persuasion'? The reaction of the City Corporation was extreme revealing a strident Protestant patriarchy in response to the wrong doing of a network of women orhanised by a resourceful leader. (Show less)