In this paper, Patrick Vitale reviews Pittsburgh’s role as what David Caute described as the “violent epicenter of the anti-Communist eruption.” He spans a series of events from the formation of the local organization Americans Battling Communism (ABC) and its 1948 attack on a Communist Party meeting on Pittsburgh’s North Side, to the 1949 purge of the radical United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers (UE) from the CIO, to the early 1950s trials and imprisonment of Communist Party organizer Steve Nelson. Rather than rewrite the well-documented history of red scares in Pittsburgh, he offers a new interpretation.
Patrick Vitale is a doctoral student in the Department of Geography at the University of Toronto working on a dissertation, “Nuclear Suburbs: Westinghouse and the everyday politics of the Cold War in suburban Pittsburgh.” Patrick’s research examines the confluence of the Cold War, nuclear science, and suburbanization in the Pittsburgh region from 1937 to 1979. Using the Westinghouse Electric Corporation's extensive involvement in the nuclear industry as an example, Patrick argues that the suburbanization of scientific work was a vital and overlooked aspect of the dramatic remaking of the Pittsburgh region during the Cold War. Fundamental to Patrick’s argument is that the Cold War is constituted at the level of the local and everyday, that Cold War science is situated within a suburban context, and that one force driving suburbanization in Pittsburgh was the desire to protect the privilege of scientific research and researchers.
Wednesday April 25, 2012, 4-6 pm Munk School for Global Affairs 1 Devonshire Place, Room 208N