Author Uses Maps to Analyze Decline and Inequality

Iowa Professor Colin Gordon to Speak at McKendree on Oct. 21

(LEBANON, Ill., October 2, 2014) — Author and University of Iowa history professor Colin Gordon will discuss “Mapping Decline: St. Louis, Ferguson and the Fate of an American City” at McKendree University on Tuesday, Oct. 21. The public is welcome to attend his lecture at 7 p.m. in Bothwell Chapel.

Gordon uses mapping technology to analyze inequality. He will explain how a map of St. Louis County can reveal some of the sources of unrest in Ferguson, Mo., following the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer. His book, “Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of the American City,” traces the transformation of the metropolitan area in the 20th century, focusing on local regulation of land use including restrictive deed covenants, real estate restrictions, and municipal zoning. For his interactive project Mapping Decline, Gordon combined extensive archival research with geographical information system (GIS) digital mapping technology to examine St. Louis’s evolution and the causes and consequences of its urban crisis and decline.

The professor and researcher writes widely on the history of American public policy and the political economy in the U.S. since 1920. He has written three other books: New Deals: Business, Labor and Politics, 1920-1935; and Dead on Arrival: The Politics of Health in Twentieth Century America; and his latest, Growing Apart: A Political History of American Inequality. He has also written for The Nation, In These Times, Z Magazine, Atlantic Cities, and is a regular contributor to Dissent, a quarterly magazine about politics and culture.