Boston’s Molasses Flood: Municipal Planning in a Just Society, with Lois Ascher, speaking on the 101st anniversary of the event. Thanks to Steve Puleo’s book, Dark Tide, many people have now at least heard of the Molasses Flood. Yet as much as it appears to be a chapter out of the Twilight Zone, the Molasses Flood was far more. Lois’ talk will discuss both the flood itself and the cultural conditions that drove the catastrophe. The decisions made around the tank’s siting, its construction, lack of due diligence, and its maintenance, reveal local and global concerns of the time: war, recession, a pandemic, and particularly conflicts with immigration. The talk will conclude with some thoughts on why no real memorial exists, and some considerations in providing one.
About the Presenter
Lois Ascher is a semi-retired professor in the Humanities Department at Wentworth Institute in Boston, MA. She was the first female professor hired at the Institute. During her tenure, she created and directed the English Honors program and taught courses in literature, art history, and contemporary art and theory. More recently, with the aid of two grants and a term professorship, she was able to pursue her interest in urban culture studies. She has served as area chair in Urban Studies for NEPCA (New England Popular Culture Association), and has published on the urban renewal tragedy of Boston’s West End, a particular interest of hers. Currently, she serves on the executive committee of the board of the West End Museum. She is also privileged to serve as a board member of the Greater Newburyport Village, and on its Member Care Committee.