Flight of the Metropolis: Rethinking the San Francisco Bay Area Through SFO

Eric Porter
History and History of Consciousness
UC Santa Cruz

“Flight of the Metropolis” examines the history of San Francisco International Airport as a means of better understanding the Bay Area as a physical, social, and imagined urban space. Central to this narrative is how people, from low-wage laborers to municipal officials, to members of neighborhood associations, have interacted with the airport. These interactions, in turn, shed light on phenomena that have shaped the Bay Area since the early twentieth century: the effect of the Bay Area’s environment on its urbanization and vice versa; the impact of the military and militarism on the region; the changing nature of work for an increasingly diverse population; technology’s role in facilitating social changes; evolving strategies for multi-racial political organizing; and the ways that these and other phenomena may be understood in relation to local manifestations of racial capitalism and the broader imperial formations with which it has developed.