Friday, July 16, 2010

Rossi and Capozzola on the Politics of the Modern American Swimming Pool

Michael Rossi and Christopher Capozzola, respectively, a graduate student and professor in MIT's history department, have published Duesler's Third Law: Social Control and the Politics of Fun in the Modern American Swimming Pool in the (ungated) Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race. Here is the abstract:
As part of a roundtable reflecting on the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission's finding of probable cause for discrimination against a Philadelphia-area swim club, this paper examines the political history of the American swimming pool. From their inception as "swim baths" in the late nineteenth century to their visible place in segregation battles of the mid-twentieth century, swimming pools have played a central role in American communities as technologies of inclusion and exclusion. Conflicts over of who could use pools, and how they were to behave when in them, have surrounded public swimming pools across the country since the late nineteenth century. Depicted as sites of innocent fun, swimming pools have in fact always been arenas of political conflict.
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