The Ghetto in Global History : 1500 to the Present book cover
1st Edition

The Ghetto in Global History
1500 to the Present

ISBN 9781315099774
Published November 27, 2017 by Routledge
378 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Ghetto in Global History explores the stubborn tenacity of ‘the ghetto’ over time. As a concept, policy, and experience, the ghetto has served to maintain social, religious, and racial hierarchies over the past five centuries. Transnational in scope, this book allows readers to draw thought-provoking comparisons across time and space among ghettos that are not usually studied alongside one another.

The volume is structured around four main case studies, covering the first ghettos created for Jews in early modern Europe, the Nazis' use of ghettos, the enclosure of African Americans in segregated areas in the United States, and the extreme segregation of blacks in South Africa. The contributors explore issues of discourse, power, and control; examine the internal structures of authority that prevailed; and document the lived experiences of ghetto inhabitants. By discussing ghettos as both tools of control and as sites of resistance, this book offers an unprecedented and fascinating range of interpretations of the meanings of the "ghetto" throughout history. It allows us to trace the circulation of the idea and practice over time and across continents, revealing new linkages between widely disparate settings.

Geographically and chronologically wide-ranging, The Ghetto in Global History will prove indispensable reading for all those interested in the history of spatial segregation, power dynamics, and racial and religious relations across the globe.

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables

List of contributors


Introduction: The Ghetto Made and Remade

Wendy Z. Goldman and Joe W. Trotter



Part I: The Early Modern Jewish Ghetto

1 - Ghetto: Etymology, Original Definition, Reality, and Diffusion

Benjamin Ravid

2 - The End to Confessionalism: Jews, Law, and the Roman Ghetto

Kenneth Stow

3 - The Early Modern Ghetto: A Study in Urban Real Estate

Bernard Cooperman

4 - Venice: A Culture of Enclosure, a Culture of Control. The Creation of the Ghetto in the Context of Early Cinquecento

Samuel D. Gruber



Part II: Nazi Ghettos


5 - "There was no work, we only worked for the Germans": Ghettos and Ghetto labor in German-occupied Soviet territories

Anika Walke

6 - Hunger in the Ghettos

Helene Sinnreich

7 - Am I My Brother’s Keeper? Jewish Committees in the Ghettos of the Mogilev district and the Romanian authorities in Transnistria, 1941 to 1944

Gali Mir-Tibon

8 - Jewish Resistance in Ghettos in the former Soviet Union during the Holocaust

Zvi Gitelman and Lenore J. Weitzman

9 - When (and why) is a ghetto not a "ghetto"? Concentrating and

Segregating Jews in Budapest, 1944

Tim Cole

Part III: U.S. and African American Ghettos

10 - Shifting "Ghettos": Established Jews, Jewish Immigrants and

African-Americans in Chicago 1880-1960

Tobias Brinkman

11 - "Is a Negro district, in the midst of our fairest cities, to become connotative of the ghetto…?": Using Corpus Analysis to Trace the "Ghetto" in the Black Press, 1900-1930

Avigail Oren

12 - Constrained But Not Contained: Patterns of Everyday Life

and the Limits of Segregation in 1920s Harlem

Stephen Robertson

13 - The American Ghetto as an International Human Rights Crisis: The Fight Against Racial Restrictive Covenants, 1945-1948

Jeffrey Gonda

14 - Unmaking the Ghetto: Community Development and Persistent Social Inequality in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia

Brian Purnell


Part IV: Urban Locations, Apartheid, and the Ghetto in Southern Africa

15 - "Their World Was a Ghetto:" Space, Power and Identity in Alexandra, South Africa’s Squatters’ Movement, 1946-47

Dawne Curry

16 - Citizens, not Subjects: Spatial Segregation and the Making of Durban’s African

Working Class

Alex Lichtenstein

17 - Location Culture in South Africa

Gavin Steingo

Conclusion: Common Themes and New Directions

Wendy Z. Goldman and Joe W. Trotter


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Wendy Z. Goldman is Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor of History at Carnegie Mellon University, United States. She is a social and political historian of Russia, and her publications include Hunger and War: Food Provisioning in the Soviet Union During World War II (2015, ed. with Donald Filtzer), Inventing the Enemy: Denunciation and Terror in Stalin’s Russia (2011), Terror and Democracy in the Age of Stalin: The Social Dynamics of Repression (2007), and Women at the Gates: Gender and Industry in Stalin’s Russia (2002).

Joe William Trotter, Jr. is Giant Eagle Professor of History and Social Justice and past History Department Chair at Carnegie Mellon University, United States. He also directs Carnegie Mellon’s Center for African American Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE) and is a past president of the Labor and Working Class History Association. His publications include Race and Renaissance: African Americans in Pittsburgh Since World War II (2010, co-authored with Jared N. Day), Black Milwaukee: The Making of an Industrial Proletariat, 1915-45 (second edition, 2007), and The African American Urban Experience: From the Colonial Era to the Present, with Earl Lewis and Tera W. Hunter (2004).


"Uncovering lines of connection and distinction stretching from Cinquecento Venice to apartheid Johannesburg via Nazi-controlled Bialystok and segregated Brooklyn, The Ghetto in Global History provides essential new insights into the making, remaking and unmaking of the ghetto as idea, social experience and technology of power."

Daniel Matlin, King's College London, UK

"Wendy Z. Goldman and Joe Trotter, Jr bring together many of the most important historians on ghettos in The Ghetto in Global History. The volume as a whole is an admirable attempt to breathe new life into the study of the classical tradition."

Bryan Cheyette, University of Reading, UK