Carlo Rotella | The World is Always Coming to an End: Pulling Together and Apart in a Chicago Neighborhood

Tuesday, 11/19/19
315 Wheeler Hall

Carlo Rotella | The World is Always Coming to an End: Pulling Together and Apart in a Chicago Neighborhood
In conversation with Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation
Tuesday, November 19, 7:00pm-8:30pm
Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall

Co-sponsors: Global Urban Humanities Initiative, Department of English, American Studies Program, Department of Sociology, and Graduate School of Journalism

Rotella's book will be available for sale at the event starting at 6:30pm.

Carlo Rotella will speak on his new book, which one reviewer called “an urban history with the soul of a memoir.” The World is Always Coming to an End: Pulling Together and Apart in a Chicago Neighborhood is a hauntingly personal account of this scholar-journalist’s return to the Chicago neighborhood where he grew up. Rotella was raised in two houses at opposite ends of Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood in the 1970’s. It’s a neighborhood of trim bungalow blocks and desolate commercial avenues, lakefront high-rises with magnificent views and walkup apartment buildings filled with Section 8 voucher-holders. 

In the decades since Rotella lived there, the hollowing out of the middle class has left haves and have-nots confronting one another across an expanding gap that makes it ever harder for them to recognize each other as neighbors. Blending journalism and archival research, The World is Always Coming to an End examines race and class through the lenses of both childhood memory and economic and political analysis.

Read an excerpt from the book in the New Yorker and an op-ed by Rotella in the New York Times.

Carlo Rotella is Professor of English, American Studies and Journalism at Boston College. His books include Playing in Time: Essays, Profiles, and Other True Stories; Cut Time: an Education at the Fights; Good with Their Hands: Boxers, Bluesmen and Other Characters from the Rust Belt; and October Cities: The Redevelopment of Urban Literature.  He has received a Guggenheim fellowship, the Whiting Writers Award and the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award. He writes regularly for the New York Times Magazine, has been a columnist for the Boston Globe and radio commentator for WGBH, and his work has also appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s and The Best American Essays.

Fred Blackwell is the CEO of the San Francisco Foundation. An Oakland native, Blackwell served as interim city administrator for the city of Oakland and was the executive director of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Development in San Francisco. He is a visiting professor in the department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley and the Co-Chair of CASA — The Committee to House the Bay Area. He holds a master’s degree in city planning from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Morehouse College.