Segregation: A Global History of Divided Cities (Historical Studies of Urban America) (Hardcover)

Segregation: A Global History of Divided Cities (Historical Studies of Urban America) By Carl H. Nightingale Cover Image
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When we think of segregation, what often comes to mind is apartheid South Africa, or the American South in the age of Jim Crow—two societies fundamentally premised on the concept of the separation of the races. But as Carl H. Nightingale shows us in this magisterial history, segregation is everywhere, deforming cities and societies worldwide.

Starting with segregation’s ancient roots, and what the archaeological evidence reveals about humanity’s long-standing use of urban divisions to reinforce political and economic inequality, Nightingale then moves to the world of European colonialism. It was there, he shows, segregation based on color—and eventually on race—took hold; the British East India Company, for example, split Calcutta into “White Town” and “Black Town.” As we follow Nightingale’s story around the globe, we see that division replicated from Hong Kong to Nairobi, Baltimore to San Francisco, and more. The turn of the twentieth century saw the most aggressive segregation movements yet, as white communities almost everywhere set to rearranging whole cities along racial lines. Nightingale focuses closely on two striking examples: Johannesburg, with its state-sponsored separation, and Chicago, in which the goal of segregation was advanced by the more subtle methods of real estate markets and housing policy.

For the first time ever, the majority of humans live in cities, and nearly all those cities bear the scars of segregation. This unprecedented, ambitious history lays bare our troubled past, and sets us on the path to imagining the better, more equal cities of the future.

About the Author

Carl H. Nightingale is professor of urban and world history in the Department of Transnational Studies at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. He is the author of On the Edge: Poor Black Children and Their American Dreams.

Praise For…

“The scope of the work is challenging and impressive. . . . This book deserves to be widely read, for in presenting cities through the lens of segregation (or vice versa), it opens up a new series of relationships that will enrich a number of disciplines.”
— Times Higher Education

"This study of the segregation of the world's cities by race since the eighteenth century is an extraordinary achievement. Its scope is truly global, extending from urban Africa and Asia to the cities of the Americas and Europe and synthesizing in the process a vast literature. Through this prism Carl Nightingale weaves a history which brilliantly links the big themes of empire, migration and racialization to the microanalysis of place and space in cities such as Johannesburg, Calcutta, and Chicago. By reconnecting urban history with the history of race in a genuinely global perspective he creates a new fusion that adds enormously to our understanding of how cities became--and were maintained as--sites of segregation and exclusion."

— Simon Gunn, director of the Centre for Urban History, University of Leicester

"This is a book of genuinely global sweep, traversing continents and millennia of human history. Yet it is also a wonderfully detailed and nuanced work of archivally based history, particularly in its later chapters, which offer fine-grained accounts of the elaboration of segregationist ideology and practice in two specific cities, Chicago and Johannesburg. This is a terrific book: original, important, and astonishingly broad-ranging."

— James Campbell, Stanford University

"Carl H. Nightingale has written a book of enormous ambition--and accomplishment. Moving between broad patterns and local detail, he has produced a global history of modern coerced racial segregation from its imperial origins to postwar suburbanization. It is a history marked by moral passion, clarity of thought and expression, and extraordinary research on all continents. His rich and powerful argument is that segregation has not only been a global fact but also the result of transnational ideological connections, economic practices, and government policies."

— Thomas Bender, author of The Unfinished City:  New York and the Metropolitan Idea

"Most of us live in cities shaped in part by segregation, but urban segregation is usually studied in particular cases. Carl Nightingale adopts a world history perspective and ranges from Calcutta and Johannesburg to Chicago and other places. His book is a major contribution to both the study of segregation and comparative urban studies."

— Chris Saunders, University of Cape Town

“At the center of this fine study lies an analysis of the acts of governments, intellectual networks, and the modern capitalist real estate industry in regulating and manipulating land markets in a manner that reflected economic and increasingly racialized interests and that produced racially segregated cityscapes. Nightingale demonstrates how the evolution of segregated cities was suffused with paradoxical ideas of white supremacy and vulnerability, concerns about sanitation and fears of disease, and the demands for strict enforcement of color lines, and how those ideas were balanced against the need for selective passage across lines for the purposes of work, commerce, and sex.”

— Brett Gadsden

“Remarkably, Nightingale manages to write a history that is at once coherent and attentive to local difference, detailed and sweeping, accessible and scholarly.”
“Without a doubt, Segregation makes for a weighty addition to our literature on divided cities—one that should be read by scholars, students, and practitioners alike. Given the sweep and scope of Nightingale's accomplishment, it should not be surprising that we leave wanting even more.”
— Nancy Haekyung Kwak, University of California at San Diego
Product Details
ISBN: 9780226580746
ISBN-10: 0226580741
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: May 29th, 2012
Pages: 536
Language: English
Series: Historical Studies of Urban America