This dissertation argues that logics of tolerance were central to emerging forms of urban governance in the New South tourist locale of Asheville, North Carolina between the late 19th and mid-20th centuries. White authorities' practices of "race relations," the development of civic sites of historical memory, and the regulation of disorderly spaces worked to distribute the responsibility of surveillance to many actors. Most significantly, objects of suspicion were enlisted and enlisted themselves in networks of authority as a means to police and, hopefully, transcend the danger to urban order they themselves embodied. These networks were hierarchical. Their priorities and the relations between actors within them were shaped and supported by white authorities' political privilege to formulate racialized, gendered, and class-conscious definitions of deviance. They were also distributive, as their operation depended on the efforts of multiple participants. The forms of governance organized around techniques of tolerance did not dispel white authorities' suspicion, nor aim to. Instead, the projects considered here created opportunities to make that suspicion operable and regularize its management.
By focusing on one city, this dissertation is able to demonstrate how the development, maintenance, and changes in networks of tolerance played a key role in making and remaking both place and space in Asheville. Scrutinizing these networks is essential for understanding how tolerance both created space for civic participation and sharply curtailed what would be tolerated within it. Through variously articulating, critiquing, and performing the expectation of surveillance, African Americans, Jews, and white Christians sought to redefine the boundaries of tolerable difference in urban spaces as well as the meanings of blackness, Jewishness, and whiteness. This dissertation employs insights drawn from cultural geography and government studies to interrogate tolerance as a technique of management. It therefore newly historicizes the emergence of tolerance as a national civic value in the interwar period and reassesses its analytical value to urban history.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. February 2013. Major: History. Advisors:Kevin P. Murphy, David A. Chang. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 382 pages.
Epstein, Seth Edward David.
Tolerance, governance, and surveillance in the Jim Crow South: Asheville, North Carolina, 1876-1946.
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