Relief and Resistance: Urban Disasters and the Formation of the North American Progressive State


Mellon/ACLS Recent Doctoral Recipients Fellowships


For residence at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture, Concordia University


A fire in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1914 and an explosion in Halifax, NS, in 1917 provide an opportunity to explore working-class institutions and organizations in the US-Canada borderlands. This project asks which institutions were most relevant and useful. It speaks to the broad historiography that shows the way elites imposed a progressive state on what they imagined to be a fractured and chaotic social landscape. “The people” for whom reformers claimed to speak had their own durable, alternative modes of support and rescue that they quickly and effectively mobilized in times of crisis, but which remained illegible to elites.