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Civic Culture and Citizenship: the nature of urban governance in interwar Manchester and Chicago
My thesis aims to explore the notion that citizenship during the interwar period was a particularly urban imagining of civic responsibility, formulated against a backdrop of political radicalism, franchise extension, structural economic change, and the professionalization of urban government. To do this it takes the two cities of Manchester, UK, and Chicago, US, to utilise a comparative theoretical framework. In particular it draws on the idea that citizenship universally can be used as a tool of governance, wielded by civic associations, municipal government, or a partnership of the two. Implicit within this therefore is the relationship between municipal government and the city-dweller, and the various points of contact through which this was manifested – such as societies, associations and clubs.
The themes of the thesis can be broken down into three strands. Firstly, the idea of the city and its government being a symbol of citizenship – both as something to be proud of, and something to be responsible for, due to its guarantor status of the life and health of its residents. One chapter concentrates on the ‘ideal’ image of the city as represented in education textbooks, while another explores the use of the urban backdrop in civic festivals. Secondly, the direct forms of citizenship education that targeted both the minds and bodies of adults and children. These chapters cover diverse subjects such as immigration naturalization classes, school dinners and Physical Education. Finally, the thesis engages with the relationship between welfare and designing citizenship, using a case study of public housing to show the ways in which citizens were made responsible in relation to their civic and urban environment.
Through this analysis it is hoped citizenship can be reinstated as a local, as much as a national, phenomenon in this period, dependent on the tacit operation and negotiation of civic cultures and governments.
Tom completed his BA in History at the University of Leicester in 2008 and was awarded the Ralph Davis, W.H. Brock, and H.J. Dyos prizes. He also completed an MA at the University of Leicester in 2009, in Urban History, and was awarded the David Reeder prize for his dissertation on civic festivals in Manchester and Chicago in the 1920s. He has been awarded an Economic and Social Research Council 1+3 studentship which funded his MA and is also funding his PhD.
As part of an ongoing exchange of scholars and students between the Montreal History Group and the Centre for Urban History, Tom travelled to Canada (February 2010) for a two week visit. Tom gave two papers in Montreal, at the Jeudi d’Histoire (Université de Montréal) and Muffins and Methodology (McGill University) seminar series, before travelling to Toronto, where he presented his research at the 'Historians Craft' of York University. Regarding his trip, Tom said:
"It was an honour to have been invited to speak on behalf of the Centre in Montreal and Toronto. I was greatly impressed at the variety of original and important research being undertaken at these institutions, and at the vitality and vigour of both the academic staff and postgraduate communities. This vibrancy was really reflected in the attendance and quality of questioning that I encountered in all of the locations I spoke, and has aided me in further conceptualising my own work. Hopefully this visit will further strengthen relations between Leicester, Montreal and Toronto; an important part of urban history is to not work within a vacuum, but to build worldwide links in the furthering of historical enquiry. There is much here in Leicester we can learn from these institutions – not least, the provision of cheese and wine during evening presentations!"
In January 2011 Tom Hulme received a Special Commendation from the IHBC and the committee of the Gus Astley Student Award for a study of the conservation of gay heritage in Manchester, described by judge Trefor Thorpe as ‘an excellent and erudite insight into an alternative view of ‘heritage’ and regeneration’.
Between January and July 2012 Tom undertook an internship in the Social Sciences department of the British Library, researching the collections to create a web-resource for postgraduate and early-career researchers: http://www.esrc.ac.uk/funding-and-guidance/tools-and-resources/british-library/index.aspx
'Putting the City back into Citizenship: Civics Textbooks and Municipal Government in the Interwar American City', Urban Citizenship and American Democracy: The Historical and Institutional Roots of Local Politics and Policy, eds. A.B. Bridges and M.J. Fortner (SUNY Press, forthcoming).'Boston, MA, 1854-1877', Cities in American Political History, ed. R. Dilworth (Washington, 2011).