Jamin Creed Rowan
The Sociable City
An American Intellectual Tradition
University of Pennsylvania Press 2017
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in ArchitectureNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Intellectual HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books Network September 14, 2017 Lilian Calles Barger
Jamin Creed Rowan is an assistant professor of English and American Studies at Brigham Young University. His book The Sociable City: An American Intellectual Tradition (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017) offers a history of how American intellectuals and planners thought about urban relationships shaping modern cities. He traces how cities’ physical landscape changed as ideas about the nature of their social life were reconceived. Beginning with Frederick Law Olmsted in the nineteenth century who expressed anxiety over the erosion of social sympathy, to the progressive era’s deployment of the family ideal for urban friendships, to mid-century models that saw these relationships as part of and analogous to an ecological system. Along the way he examines the thought of Jane Addams, W.E.B. Du Bois, the journalists at the New Yorker, Rachel Carson and Jane Jacobs and the disruptive force of urban renewal projects. Rowan provides the reader with a new way to value “sociable fellow-feelings” in the midst of the diversity and the rapid change of today’s cities.
Lilian Calles Barger, www.lilianbarger.com, is a cultural, intellectual and gender historian. Her current book project is tentatively entitled The World Come of Age: Religion, Intellectuals and the Challenge of Human Liberation is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.