Connecting the Wire
Race, Space, and Postindustrial Baltimore
University of Texas Press 2017
New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in Critical TheoryNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Popular CultureNew Books Network May 16, 2017 James Stancil
Critically acclaimed as one of the best television shows ever produced, the HBO series The Wire (2002-2008) is a landmark event in television history, offering a raw and dramatically compelling vision of the teeming drug trade and the vitality of life in the abandoned spaces of the postindustrial United States. With a sprawling narrative that dramatizes the intersections of race, urban history, and the neoliberal moment, The Wire offers an intricate critique of a society ravaged by racism and inequality.
In Connecting The Wire: Race, Space, and Postindustrial Baltimore (University of Texas Press, 2017), The author presents the first comprehensive, season-by-season analysis of the entire series. Focusing on the show’s depictions of the built environment of the city of Baltimore and the geographic dimensions of race and class, he analyzes how The Wire’s creator and showrunner, David Simon, uses the show to develop a social vision of its historical moment, as well as a device for critiquing many social givens. In The Wire’s gritty portrayals of drug dealers, cops, longshoremen, school officials and students, and members of the judicial system, Stanley Corkin maps a web of relationships and forces that define urban social life and the lives of the urban underclass in particular, in the early twenty-first century. He makes a compelling case that, with its embedded history of race and race relations in the United States, The Wire is perhaps the most sustained and articulate exploration of urban life in contemporary popular culture.
Author Stanley Corkin is Charles Phelps Taft Professor and Niehoff Professor of Film and Media Studies in the Departments of History and English at the University of Cincinnati. His research and pedagogical interests include history and urban geography, cinema and the city, and the intersections of literature, film, and history in American Studies. His previous book-length projects include Starring New York: Filming the Grime and Glamour of the Long 1970s, Cowboys as Cold Warriors: The Western and U.S. History, and Realism and the Birth of the Modern United States: Cinema, Literature, and Culture. He is currently working on a research project relating to race and space in the city of Boston.
James Stancil is an independent scholar, freelance journalist, and the President and CEO of Intellect U Well, Inc. a Houston-area non-profit dedicated to increasing the joy of reading and media literacy in young people.