The Wire: Race, Urban Inequality, and the “Crisis” of the American City

3 credits

HIST 4235

History
College of Arts and Science

(cross-leveled with HIST 7235). The HBO series “The Wire”, a crime drama based on the border city of Baltimore, exposed the interlocking, structural realities giving shape to the landscapes, neighborhoods, and lived experiences of urban America during the early twenty-first century. Through vivid storytelling, “The Wire” complicates understandings of the “urban crisis” through a focus on the inner workings of major institutions such as the media, public schools, politics, underground economies, public housing, and the criminal justice system and on the ways in which poor and working-class black residents negotiate power and survival. Using the cable series as a lens, this class offers students the opportunity to critically examine the historical, economic, social, and political dimensions of urban inequality.