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Seth Moglen
Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA 18015-3027)
Bethlehem: American Utopia, American Tragedy

Research and writing of a book on Bethlehem, Pennsylvania since its founding in 1741 to the present.

My book explores the enduring contradiction between egalitarianism and domination in American life through a poetic, accessible and carefully researched exploration of one city: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The book traces the 280-year arc of the city’s history, revisiting iconic episodes and motifs in U.S. history and in the American popular imagination: the spiritual city on a hill built into the wilderness; the immigrant industrial metropolis, engine of American global power; the postindustrial crisis and its possible redemption by the glamor of casino capitalism. I demonstrate that aspirations for equality have been more vibrant, more varied in their origins, and more successfully implemented than most readers may imagine. At the same time, I trace the evolving structures of racial and gender hierarchy and economic exploitation that have constrained those aspirations. This book seeks to reinvigorate discussion about what equality has meant – and might yet mean – in the United States.

Project fields:
American Studies; Labor Relations; Urban Studies

Public Scholars

Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022