Cities as Communicative Change Agents
Edited By erin daina mcclellan, Yongjun Shin and Curry Chandler
9. Baseball Fields of Care: Urban Sportscapes, Neighborhood Change, and the Gentrification of Commemorative Space: CURRY CHANDLER, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, U.S.
9. Baseball Fields of Care: Urban Sportscapes, Neighborhood Change, and the Gentrification of Commemorative Space
Sports participation and spectatorship constitute powerful affective bonds that may support the development of communities and publics. The commemoration of sport history and related ritual activities may also serve as the basis for collective memory and identity formation at a variety of territorial scales, such as the nation, city, or neighborhood. In this chapter, I examine tensions around commemorative sites and histories of racial and spatial injustice in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Drawing on perspectives from communication, rhetoric, and human geography I analyze three salient sites of baseball history and memorialization that are linked with legacies of racial segregation in professional sports. This analysis calls attention to the privileged place that baseball history occupies in narratives of American identity, and the role that baseball stadia have played in urban development initiatives. I argue that patterns of commemorative spatialization within neoliberal urbanism constitute a continual failure to register and reconcile historical narratives of racial marginalization in U.S. cities, and further deprive members of marginalized urban communities of affective bonds to spaces of commemoration.
Keywords: material rhetoric, public memory, sports, gentrification, commemoration, affect, vernacular history, community identity
The U.S. city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania presents a salient context in which to consider not only baseball history at large but the sport’s era of racial segregation and eventual integration in particular. Pittsburgh’s Black...
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