9/29 Malgeri Modern American Society & Culture Seminar: Organizing Audiences around Spectacle in the Industrial Era

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"No unseated crowd is liable to be orderly”: Organizing Audiences around Spectacle in the Industrial Era

Author: Scott Kushner, University of Rhode Island
Comment: Derek Miller, Harvard University

Tuesday 29 September
5:15 PM

Virtual Event


Crowd control technologies—turnstiles, bleachers, stanchions, and seats—channel bodies through the spaces of cultural performance: theater, music, and sport. The increasing rationalization and standardization of crowd control in the early 20th century corresponds with a critical and popular understanding of crowds as dangerous and destabilizing. This paper mines archival evidence to show how industrial-age crowd control was framed as technology that ordered masses (into lines or rows), thereby rendering masses orderly (cooperative, docile, and non-threatening).

The Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society & Culture Seminar at the Massachusetts Historical Society invites you to come join the conversation on Tuesday 29 September at 5:15 PM. The seminar brings together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. After brief remarks from the author and an assigned commentator, the discussion is opened to the floor. All are encouraged to ask questions, provide feedback on the circulated essay, and discuss the topic at hand. Our sessions are free and open to everyone. Register above to attend, and you will receive a confirmation message with instructions for attending this virtual session. 

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