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Mobtown Memories: Towards a People's History of Violence in Baltimore

O'Neill, Katie Kavanagh (2017) Mobtown Memories: Towards a People's History of Violence in Baltimore. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation draws on the theories and practices of oral history, rhetorical criticism, and archival research to present a people’s history of violence in Baltimore throughout the war on drugs. Chapters One and Two draw from a set of oral histories collected from Baltimore Guardian Angels, a historically militant community watch group; the founding residents of Viva House, a local Catholic Worker community of war resistors committed to the cause of economic justice. Those chapters work together to present a complex and sometimes conflicting story of Baltimore’s history of drugs, race, poverty, and violence from the 1980s through the 2000s. In Chapter Three, I offer a close analysis of RIP T-shirts as objects and practice used for memorializing murder victims in the city. By placing these artifacts in the context of the histories that surface in Chapters One and Two, I unpack what is revealed about the individuals and communities most impacted by urban violence in terms of identity, resistance, and power. Throughout the dissertation, I pay particular attention to the relationship between state violence and street violence and how those connections contribute to identity formation and sense-making for those born on the battlefield in Baltimore under the war on drugs.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
O'Neill, Katie Kavanaghkko2@pitt.edukko20000-0002-8589-5688
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairZboray, Ronald Jzboray@pitt.eduzboray0000-0002-9433-3409
Committee MemberLipsitz, Georgeglipsitz@blackstudies.ucsb.eduNA0000-0001-8903-364X
Committee MemberMalin, Brenton Jbmalin@pitt.edubmalin0000-0003-3610-3768
Committee MemberOlson, Lesterolson@pitt.eduolson
Date: 28 September 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 16 June 2017
Approval Date: 28 September 2017
Submission Date: 16 August 2017
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 262
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Communication: Rhetoric and Communication
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: rhetoric of violence, visual rhetoric, oral history, Baltimore, War on Drugs, Cultural Studies, American Studies, Urban Communication
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2017 23:00
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2022 05:15


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