African Urban Spaces in Historical Perspective

African Urban Spaces in Historical Perspective

Edited by Steven J. Salm, Toyin Falola


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This book presents new and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of African urban history and culture. Moving between precolonial, colonial, and contemporary urban spaces, it covers the major regions, religions, and urban societies of sub-Saharan Africa.
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 opportunities provided by the urban milieu are endless and each study opens new potential avenues of research. This book explores some of those avenues and lays the groundwork on which new studies can build.
Contributors: Maurice Nyamanga Amutabi, Catherine Coquery Vidrovitch, Mark Dike DeLancey, Thomas Ngomba Ekali, Omar A. Eno, Doug T. Feremenga, Laurent Fourchard, James Genova, Fatima Muller-Friedman, Godwin R. Murunga, Kefa M. Otiso, Michael Ralph, Jeremy Rich, Eric Ross, Corinne Sandwith, Wessel Visser.

Toyin Falola is the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin; Steven J. Salm is Assistant Professor of History, Xavier University of Louisiana.

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Table of Contents

Moving East, Facing West: Islam as an Intercultural Mediator in Urban Planning in the Sokoto Empire - Mark Dike DeLancey
Oppressive Impressioins, Architectural Expressioins: The Poetics of French Colonial (Ad)vantage, Regarding Africa - Michael RaLph
"Just Build it Modern": Post-Apartheid Spaces on Namibia's Urban Frontier - Fatima Muller-Friedman
Colonial Urbanization and Urban Management in Kenya - Kefa M. Otiso
"Inherently Unhygienic Races": Plague and the Origins of Settler Dominance in Nairobi, 1899-1907 - Godwin R. Murunga
Urbanization and Afrikaner Class Formation: The Mine Workers' Union and the Search for a Cultural Identity - Wessel Visser
The Importance of Being Educated: Strategies of an Urban Petit- Bourgeois Elite, South Africa 1935-50 - Corinne Sandwith
Where Every Language Is Heard: Atlantic Commerce, West African and Asian Migrants, and Town Society in Libreville, ca. 1860-1914 - Jeremy Rich
Captured and Steeped in Colonial Dynamics and Legacy: The Case of Isiolo Town in Kenya - Maurice Nyamanga Amutabi
From Marabout Republics to Autonomous Rural Communities: Autonomous Muslim Towns in Senegal - Eric Ross
Africanite and Urbanite: The Place of the Urban in Imaginings of African Identity during the Late Colonial Period in French West Africa - James Genova
Urban Poverty, Urban Crime, and Crime Control: The Lagos and Ibadan Cases 1929-45 - Laurent Fourchard
The Fluctuating Fortunes of Anglophone Cameroon Towns: The Case of Victoria, 1858-1982 - Thomas Ngomba Ekali
Urban Planning and Development in Zimbabwe: A Historical Perspective - Doug T. Feremenga
Somalia's City of the Jackals: Politics, Economy, and Society in Mogadishu (1991-2001) - Omar A. Eno


Today half of all Africans live in urban areas. Villages are growing into towns, and towns are rapidly becoming cities. This project offers broad and varied analyses of the history of African cities in the last 150 years, and is key to understanding the urban present. Introduced by the doyenne of African urban history, the chapters in this innovative volume deal with multiple dimensions of African city life from Morocco to Zimbabwe and from Somalia to Namibia. --Dennis D. Cordell, Department of History, Southern Methodist University and Département de Démographie, Université de Montréal

The volume leaves the reader with a powerful sense of the complexity of Africa's urban spaces. I found something new and engaging in virtually every chapter. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW [Clive Glaser]

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