My first memory of David Harvey – How he shared his working draft with MSc students


David Harvey, 2000, Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development

I met David Harvey in person for the first time while auditing his course during my MSc study at the LSE in 1999/2000 academic year. I think the course was simply called “Historical Geographical Materialism” or something similar. It was one of the few courses that sounded anything like Marx at the LSE, and I was drawn towards it. After having had my several years in the private sector after my first degree, I was in thirst of input by progressive scholarship. I did not know David at the time, as I knew few geographers by then. It was a small seminar course, having only about 12-13 students, with discussions for two hours or so each week. Readings included his own work and the works of Gramsci, Lefebvre and more that I cannot remember. If my memory is correct, he used to occupy a small office where he held his office hours. Now that I think of it, it was too small a room for such a figure like David, equipped with fairly empty bookshelves, a desktop and a printer. It wasn’t filled with books, as I presume he was at the LSE at the time on a three-year stint and did not relocate completely. The office is what is numbered as S509 at present, and coincidentally, it happened to be my office during my first year or so as professor at LSE.

One day during the term, he came in with copies of handouts, and he told us it was a working draft of his new paper. I think he was inviting any comments from his students. The draft paper was entitled “Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development”. Another week or two later, he brought a thicker version of the same paper, revsied substantially but still a working version, and this time, its title read “Working Notes Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development”. While clearing an old ring binder from my MSc/PhD period, I came across with the paper copy again, and realised this draft actually was the basis for his 2006 Verso book Spaces of Global Capitalism: Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development”, first published as Spaces of Neo-liberalization by Franz Steiner Verlag in 2005. As the course took place in the spring of 2000, it must have taken another 4-5 years for the paper to be substantially revised, perhaps presented at several academic occasions, before it came out as a book. The memory of him sharing his paper is still vividly within me, and I appreciated a distinguished professor like David willing to share unpolished version of his drafts and inviting postgraduate students to comment on them.

Origin of ‘Gentrification’ – confusing reference to 1888 publication

젠트리피케이션이라는 용어가 처음 사용된 것이 1888년 ‘영국 맨체스터 인문학 및 철학협회 백서’란 문헌이라는 설명을 듣고 뒤적여 봤습니다. 결론은 해당 문헌을 다운받아 단어검색을 한 결과 (단어검색을 허용합니다 – 스캔을 잘 했더군요…), 찾을 수 없다는 것이었습니다.

I come across with this occasional statement that the first use of ‘gentrification’ can be found in “Memoirs and Proceedings of the Manchester Literary & Philosophical Society” published in 1888. For instance, Jordi Nofre’s 2013 article says:

“Although the term ‘gentrification’ can be origi- nally found in Memoirs and Proceedings of the Manchester Literary & Philosophical Society written in 1888 (Atkinson & Bridge 2008), it acquired a contemporary meaning when the British sociologist Ruth Glass (1964) used it in her book London: Aspects of Change”. 

However, Atkinson & Bridge (published not in 2005, not 2008) does not appear to have made any such claim.

A recent column by a Korean urban planner in a Korean newspaper also contains a similar statement: “이 용어는 1888년 ‘영국 맨체스터 인문학 및 철학협회 백서’란 문헌에서 처음 사용됐다”

You can actually access and download this Memoirs and Proceedings from this link below:……/memoirsproceedin14manc/mem…

The PDF copy allows word search, and you can quickly search for ‘gentry’ or ‘gentrification’. Nowhere in the book can you find the expression.