In this fascinating history, Chad Heap reveals that the reality of slumming was far more widespread-and important-than nostalgia-tinged recollections would lead us to believe. From its appearance as a "fashinoable dissipation"centered on the immigrant and working-class districts of 1880s New York through its spread to Chicago and into the 1930s nightspots frequented by lesblans and gay men, Slumming charts the development of this popular pastime, demonstrating how its moralizing origins were soon outstripped by the artistic, racial, and sexual adventuring that typified Jazz-age America. While Heap acknowledges the role of exploitation and voyeurism in slumming-and recounts the resistance it often provoked-he also argues that the relatively uninhibited mingling it promoted across bounds of race and class helped to dramatically recast the racial and sexual landscape of burgeoning U. S, cities.
"'Slumming' is the concept of people seeing 'how the other half lives.' Peopl
“Exhaustively researched and beautifully written, Chad Heap's investigation of slumming as an urban mass phenomenon gives us a vivid and astonishingly detailed account of the black and tans, bohemian tearooms, and pansy and lesbian nightclubs where the cultural boundaries of race and sexuality were crossed, tested, and recast in the early twentieth century.”
“Slumming is a sophisticated, engaging work of American social and cultural history, an important book that will appeal to a very wide scholarly and popular audience. It is well-written, carefully crafted and structured, with a powerful set of arguments sure to reorient our understandings of sexuality, race, leisure, nightlife, urban geography, and modernity. Heap's assertions are bold, his anyalysis subtle and convincing—and on top of that, Slumming is a really good read, lively and satisfying.”
“[An] enthralling history. . . . assiduously parsed, perhaps to mitigate the inherent titillation of the material.”
American Historical Review
“This is a beautiful book that will be a milestone in our understandings of sexuality, race, normalcy, and metropolitan American modernity.”