Summary and Info
African Urban Spaces in Historical Perspective presents new and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of African urban history and culture. It presents original research and integrates historical methodologies with those of anthropology, geography, literature, art, and architecture. Moving between precolonial, colonial, and contemporary urban spaces, it covers the major regions, religions, and cultural influences of sub-Saharan Africa. The themes include Islam and Christianity, architecture, migration, globalization, social and physical decay, identity, race relations, politics, and development. This book elaborates on not only what makes the study of African urban spaces unique within urban historiography, it also offers an-encompassing and up-to-date study of the subject and inserts Africa into the growing debate on urban history and culture throughout the world. The book is divided into four sections. Following an overview on the state of urban history in Africa today, the first section of the book deals with the concept of built space and how religious factors, colonial ideologies, and conceptions of urban areas as more "modern" spaces shaped the development of urban environments. The second section turns to racial and ethnic factors in the formation of African urban spaces in Kenya and South Africa. Colonial discourse in Kenya employed racial stereotypes of Africans and Indians to justify segregation, pass laws, and exploitation, and left a legacy that impedes the development of urban areas today. In South Africa, racial categories were complicated by class, occupation, and age, factors that set Afrikaner miners apart from other Afrikaners, and a younger generation of radical colored elite apart from their parents. The third section explores the development of complex and cosmopolitan urban identities within African cities and the global nature of colonial rule that encouraged new movements of goods, peoples, and ideas.
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