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The Emergence of the South African Metropolis
Cities and Identities in the Twentieth Century

£64.99

  • Date Published: July 2016
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107002937

£ 64.99
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About the Authors
  • Focusing on South Africa's three main cities - Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban - this book explores South African urban history from the late nineteenth century onwards. In particular, it examines the metropolitan perceptions and experiences of both black and white South Africans, as well as those of visitors, especially visitors from Britain and North America. Drawing on a rich array of city histories, travel writing, novels, films, newspapers, radio and television programs, and oral histories, Vivian Bickford-Smith focuses on the consequences of the depictions of the South African metropolis and the 'slums' they contained, and especially on how senses of urban belonging and geography helped create and reinforce South African ethnicities and nationalisms. This ambitious and pioneering account, spanning more than a century, will be welcomed by scholars and students of African history, urban history, and historical geography.

    • Based on extensive original research on little used and engaging sources such as city histories, travel writing, novels, films, newspapers, radio and television programs, and oral histories
    • Argues that South African national, ethnic and racial identities were less imagined and more material than Benedict Anderson's work on imagined (national) communities
    • Examines the little explored relationship between senses of place or urban territorial belonging and social identities
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The Emergence of the South African Metropolis breaks new ground in writing the cultural history of South Africa's major conurbations. It is especially innovative in discussion of the diverse Anglophone communities that dominated the cities in their early years and Bickford-Smith is equally interesting on African urban culture.' William Beinart, University of Oxford

    'In this elegant study of how South African cities have been imagined, Bickford-Smith reveals a cacophonous urban landscape of conflict, hope, and possibility not yet overwhelmed by racial ordering.' James R. Brennan, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107002937
    • length: 340 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 156 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.67kg
    • contains: 14 b/w illus. 2 colour illus. 7 maps
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Inventing British cities in Africa
    3. More Babylon than Birmingham?
    4. Selling sunlit cities
    5. Bitter cries and black Baudelaires
    6. Remembrance of things past.

  • Author

    Vivian Bickford-Smith, University of Cape Town
    Vivian Bickford-Smith is Extraordinary Professor at Stellenbosch University and Visiting Fellow in the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London.

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