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Bryant Simon

9 Podcast Episodes

Latest 24 Jul 2021 | Updated Daily

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Bryant Simon Pk.D. - Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America.

Upper Merion Township Book Chat

Karl Helicher Former director of the Upper Merion Library sits down with Bryant Simon Pk.D. to discuss his book Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America.

23mins

23 Apr 2021

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Bryant Simon

Tom Kearney

Bryant Simon discusses his book “The Hamlet Fire”

38mins

1 Oct 2020

Similar People

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Bryant Simon, "The Hamlet Fire: A Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives" (The New Press, 2017)

New Books in History

Bryant Simon, Professor of History at Temple University, discusses his new book, The Hamlet Fire: A Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives (The New Press, 2017), and the tragic consequences of the ethos of "cheap" for workers, communities, and the nation.For decades, the small, quiet town of Hamlet, North Carolina, thrived thanks to the railroad. But by the 1970s, it had become a postindustrial backwater, a magnet for businesses searching for cheap labor with little or almost no official oversight. One of these businesses was Imperial Food Products. The company paid its workers a dollar above the minimum wage to stand in pools of freezing water for hours on end, scraping gobs of fat off frozen chicken breasts before they got dipped in batter and fried into golden brown nuggets and tenders. If a worker complained about the heat or the cold or missed a shift to take care of their children or went to the bathroom too often they were fired. But they kept coming back to work because Hamlet was a place where jobs were scarce. Then, on the morning of September 3, 1991, the day after Labor Day, this factory that had never been inspected burst into flame. Twenty-five people—many of whom were black women with children, living on their own—perished that day behind the plant’s locked and bolted doors.Eighty years after the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, industrial disasters were supposed to have been a thing of the past. After spending several years talking to local residents, state officials, and survivors of the fire, award-winning historian Bryant Simon has written a vivid, potent, and disturbing social autopsy of this town, this factory, and this time that shows how cheap labor, cheap government, and cheap food came together in a way that was bound for tragedy.Beth A. English is director of the Liechtenstein Institute's Project on Gender in the Global Community at Princeton University. She also is a past president of the Southern Labor History Association. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/history

36mins

21 Feb 2020

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Bryant Simon, "The Hamlet Fire: A Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives" (The New Press, 2017)

New Books in the American South

Bryant Simon, Professor of History at Temple University, discusses his new book, The Hamlet Fire: A Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives (The New Press, 2017), and the tragic consequences of the ethos of "cheap" for workers, communities, and the nation.For decades, the small, quiet town of Hamlet, North Carolina, thrived thanks to the railroad. But by the 1970s, it had become a postindustrial backwater, a magnet for businesses searching for cheap labor with little or almost no official oversight. One of these businesses was Imperial Food Products. The company paid its workers a dollar above the minimum wage to stand in pools of freezing water for hours on end, scraping gobs of fat off frozen chicken breasts before they got dipped in batter and fried into golden brown nuggets and tenders. If a worker complained about the heat or the cold or missed a shift to take care of their children or went to the bathroom too often they were fired. But they kept coming back to work because Hamlet was a place where jobs were scarce. Then, on the morning of September 3, 1991, the day after Labor Day, this factory that had never been inspected burst into flame. Twenty-five people—many of whom were black women with children, living on their own—perished that day behind the plant’s locked and bolted doors.Eighty years after the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, industrial disasters were supposed to have been a thing of the past. After spending several years talking to local residents, state officials, and survivors of the fire, award-winning historian Bryant Simon has written a vivid, potent, and disturbing social autopsy of this town, this factory, and this time that shows how cheap labor, cheap government, and cheap food came together in a way that was bound for tragedy.Beth A. English is director of the Liechtenstein Institute's Project on Gender in the Global Community at Princeton University. She also is a past president of the Southern Labor History Association. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-south

36mins

21 Feb 2020

Most Popular

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Bryant Simon, "The Hamlet Fire: A Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives" (The New Press, 2017)

New Books in American Studies

Bryant Simon, Professor of History at Temple University, discusses his new book, The Hamlet Fire: A Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives (The New Press, 2017), and the tragic consequences of the ethos of "cheap" for workers, communities, and the nation.For decades, the small, quiet town of Hamlet, North Carolina, thrived thanks to the railroad. But by the 1970s, it had become a postindustrial backwater, a magnet for businesses searching for cheap labor with little or almost no official oversight. One of these businesses was Imperial Food Products. The company paid its workers a dollar above the minimum wage to stand in pools of freezing water for hours on end, scraping gobs of fat off frozen chicken breasts before they got dipped in batter and fried into golden brown nuggets and tenders. If a worker complained about the heat or the cold or missed a shift to take care of their children or went to the bathroom too often they were fired. But they kept coming back to work because Hamlet was a place where jobs were scarce. Then, on the morning of September 3, 1991, the day after Labor Day, this factory that had never been inspected burst into flame. Twenty-five people—many of whom were black women with children, living on their own—perished that day behind the plant’s locked and bolted doors.Eighty years after the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, industrial disasters were supposed to have been a thing of the past. After spending several years talking to local residents, state officials, and survivors of the fire, award-winning historian Bryant Simon has written a vivid, potent, and disturbing social autopsy of this town, this factory, and this time that shows how cheap labor, cheap government, and cheap food came together in a way that was bound for tragedy.Beth A. English is director of the Liechtenstein Institute's Project on Gender in the Global Community at Princeton University. She also is a past president of the Southern Labor History Association. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies

36mins

21 Feb 2020

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Bryant Simon on the Hamlet Fire and the Politics of Chicken

Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast

Consider the chicken nugget. Many of us can see its round shape in our minds, and recall its salty taste. But what is its history? And what does this history have to tell us about food and capitalism, and about one of the most devastating industrial accidents in recent U.S. history? On today’s show, we speak with Bryant Simon about the 1991 fire at a chicken processing factory in Hamlet, North Carolina. For Bryant, this tragic accident has political and economic causes. And it reveals a tremendous amount the last few decades of U.S. and global history. Bryant Simon is a professor of history at Temple University. He is the author of The Hamlet Fire: A Tragic Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives.

49mins

1 Jan 2018

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Bryant Simon, “The Hamlet Fire: A Tragic Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives” (The New Press, 2017)

New Books in History

On September 3, 1991, a fire erupted at the Imperial Foods factory in the small town of Hamlet, North Carolina. Twenty-five people died behind the factory’s locked doors that morning. Most of the victims were women, and about half of them were black. In The Hamlet Fire: A Tragic Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives (The New Press, 2017), Temple University history professor Bryant Simon lays out the structural failures in the American and global economic systems which killed those workers. As economic growth slowed and inflation rose in the 1970s, many Americans grew disillusioned with the New Deal era promise of high wages and a robust regulatory state. Instead, Simon argues, Americans began to embrace a culture of cheap, ready-made, products and government policies which benefitted business owners, rather than employees. Food sat high atop the list of cheap items Americans craved, particularly chicken which, just before the Hamlet fire, surpassed beef as the meat most commonly consumed by American diners. It was no coincidence that the Imperial plant in Hamlet processed chicken strips and tenders for sale at national chain grocery stores. Nor was it a coincidence that Imperial relocated to North Carolina in the 1980s, as the state defunded regulatory systems and opened its doors to businesses looking for any edge in a hyper competitive market. The Hamlet Fire is a remarkable and ultimately sad story about the hidden costs of American consumption and global systems of production at the end of the twentieth century. Stephen Hausmann is a doctoral candidate at Temple University and Visiting Instructor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently writing his dissertation, a history of race and the environment in the Black Hills and surrounding northern plains region of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/history

43mins

6 Oct 2017

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Bryant Simon, “The Hamlet Fire: A Tragic Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives” (The New Press, 2017)

New Books in Economics

On September 3, 1991, a fire erupted at the Imperial Foods factory in the small town of Hamlet, North Carolina. Twenty-five people died behind the factory’s locked doors that morning. Most of the victims were women, and about half of them were black. In The Hamlet Fire: A Tragic Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives (The New Press, 2017), Temple University history professor Bryant Simon lays out the structural failures in the American and global economic systems which killed those workers. As economic growth slowed and inflation rose in the 1970s, many Americans grew disillusioned with the New Deal era promise of high wages and a robust regulatory state. Instead, Simon argues, Americans began to embrace a culture of cheap, ready-made, products and government policies which benefitted business owners, rather than employees. Food sat high atop the list of cheap items Americans craved, particularly chicken which, just before the Hamlet fire, surpassed beef as the meat most commonly consumed by American diners. It was no coincidence that the Imperial plant in Hamlet processed chicken strips and tenders for sale at national chain grocery stores. Nor was it a coincidence that Imperial relocated to North Carolina in the 1980s, as the state defunded regulatory systems and opened its doors to businesses looking for any edge in a hyper competitive market. The Hamlet Fire is a remarkable and ultimately sad story about the hidden costs of American consumption and global systems of production at the end of the twentieth century. Stephen Hausmann is a doctoral candidate at Temple University and Visiting Instructor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently writing his dissertation, a history of race and the environment in the Black Hills and surrounding northern plains region of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/economics

43mins

6 Oct 2017

Episode artwork

Bryant Simon, “The Hamlet Fire: A Tragic Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives” (The New Press, 2017)

New Books in Food

On September 3, 1991, a fire erupted at the Imperial Foods factory in the small town of Hamlet, North Carolina. Twenty-five people died behind the factory’s locked doors that morning. Most of the victims were women, and about half of them were black. In The Hamlet Fire: A Tragic Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives (The New Press, 2017), Temple University history professor Bryant Simon lays out the structural failures in the American and global economic systems which killed those workers. As economic growth slowed and inflation rose in the 1970s, many Americans grew disillusioned with the New Deal era promise of high wages and a robust regulatory state. Instead, Simon argues, Americans began to embrace a culture of cheap, ready-made, products and government policies which benefitted business owners, rather than employees. Food sat high atop the list of cheap items Americans craved, particularly chicken which, just before the Hamlet fire, surpassed beef as the meat most commonly consumed by American diners. It was no coincidence that the Imperial plant in Hamlet processed chicken strips and tenders for sale at national chain grocery stores. Nor was it a coincidence that Imperial relocated to North Carolina in the 1980s, as the state defunded regulatory systems and opened its doors to businesses looking for any edge in a hyper competitive market. The Hamlet Fire is a remarkable and ultimately sad story about the hidden costs of American consumption and global systems of production at the end of the twentieth century. Stephen Hausmann is a doctoral candidate at Temple University and Visiting Instructor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently writing his dissertation, a history of race and the environment in the Black Hills and surrounding northern plains region of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/food

43mins

6 Oct 2017