Required Reading 

  • Matthew Algeo, Pedestrianism. (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2014)

Pedestrianism Visual Culture Gallery

Precept Assignment

We will be doing an in-precept exercise grounded in Pedestrianism. We will simulate a city council meeting debate on whether or not the Astley Belt Race should be permitted to take place at Madison Square Garden during March 1879. Dickinson Hall will be transformed into Tammany Hall. Professor Barnes / Dr. Matherly will serve as Edward Cooper, the Mayor of New York City (you might want to brush up on some of his predilections to properly appeal to his sentiments). You will be the citizens and taxpayers of New York City (although if you want to develop a more specific identity from the book you are enthusiastically welcome to do so).

I want to stress you do not need to come to class with your positions written out, you do not need to submit written work before precept, and you do not need to meet with your team before class. I will give you some time to discuss as a group before we begin. I am simply sending this now as I know some of you like to prepare your thoughts before we enter the classroom. Each team will give an opening statement, a rebuttal, and a closing argument. Issues you might explore include public safety, sanitation, technology, gender issues, race relations, sexuality, immigration, urbanization, class, religion, and the ultimate legacy the event established for American popular culture in however you now understand that.

Rhae Lynn Barnes is an Assistant Professor of American Cultural History at Princeton University (2018-) and President of the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography. She is the co-founder and C.E.O. of U.S. History Scene and an Executive Advisor to the documentary series "Reconstruction: America After the Civil War" (now streaming PBS, 2019).