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Grant number like: FEL-272888-21

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David L. Pike
American University (Washington, DC 20016-8200)

Research Programs

[Grant products]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 8/31/2021

A Cultural History of Modern Urban Poverty

Research and writing leading to a book on the taxonomy of the term "slum" and the representations of global urban poverty in the modern period.  

The slum imaginary—the meanings, emotions, and associations surrounding the spaces of urban poverty—was formed in the poor and undeveloped districts of the 19th-century imperial capitals London and Paris and rapidly industrializing newer cities such as Manchester or Liverpool. Soon, it was circulating the globe as colonial cities across the global South were redeveloped into ‘native’ slums and ‘modern’ administrative zones. “Slum Lore” traces the history of the word and concept of the slum, the urban spaces they describe, the lives they affect, the uses to which they have been put, and the images, fears and desires they have mobilized over the past two hundred years. Reckoning with the cultural work of the slum imaginary can help to disentangle actionable facts about the dwelling-places of the poor from the myriad other associations that continue to be affectively interwoven with those facts in the imagination of urban poverty.