February 23, 2005
Gender, race and class
You'd think that a history department seeking to hire someone to teach " Twentieth Century United States History—Gender, Race and Class" would know that "the problems of the big city" are often perceived to be related to race and class.
Maybe they mean traffic congestion when they talk about the problems of the big city. I hope so. Because a lot of people mean the poor non-white residents when they talk about the city having "problems."
On the other hand, maybe this department really does need someone to teach them about race and class in modern America ...
Posted by robe0419 at February 23, 2005 4:58 PM
Of course, even traffic congestion, if properly deconstructed, can be read as a byproduct of "white flight" from the inner city ...
I give the ad-writers the benefit of the doubt, because they're probably just worried no one will apply for a job in Youngstown. Most of the academic job-seekers I know seem to have a clear preference for big coastal cities. They probably suspect the same and are trying to make the best of their competitive disadvantage by making the mid-size city sound like the best of both worlds.
The gloss later in the paragraph seems to suggest that the main problem with the big city they have in mind is commuting distance and high housing costs. As I said above, a good historian will point out that these "problems" are related to race and class, but a junior faculty member on a thin salary will probably see them as practical problems nonetheless.