By Loren Kruger

"All roads bring about Johannesburg," feedback the narrator of Alan Paton's novel Cry, The cherished Country. Taking this quote as her impetus, Loren Kruger publications readers into the guts of South Africa's greatest urban. Exploring a variety of fiction, movie, structure, functionality, and concrete practices from buying and selling to parades, Imagining the Edgy City traverses Johannesburg's wealthy cultural terrain over the past century.

The "edgy urban" in Kruger's exploration refers not just to continual limitations among the haves and have-nots but additionally to the cosmopolitan variety and innovation that has emerged from Johannesburg. The booklet starts with the development increase, performances and asymmetric yet noteworthy inter-racial alternate that marked the city's fiftieth-anniversary get together on the Empire Exhibition in 1936. This occasion swiftly gave technique to the political repression and civil unrest that characterised South Africa from 1950 to 1990. but poetry, drama, fiction, and images persisted to thrive, bearing witness not just opposed to apartheid yet to choices past it. within the overdue 20th century, the no longer particularly post-apartheid situation fired the inventive imaginations of movie makers in addition to novelists. city forget, emerging crime, and the inflow of migrants encouraged noir cinema-like Michael Hammon's Wheels and Deals-and fiction approximately migration from Achmat Dangor to Phaswane Mpe, and within the twenty-first, city renewal has produced public artwork that includes the will strains of beginners in addition to natives. along famous artists comparable to Nadine Gordimer, William Kentridge, and David Goldblatt, the publication introduces many artists, architects, writers, and different chroniclers who've hitherto obtained little recognition in another country.

Ultimately, Johannesburg emerges as a urban whose negotiation of the tensions among incivility and innovation invitations comparisons with sleek conurbations internationally, not just African towns reminiscent of Dakar, or different towns of the "south" similar to Bogotá, but in addition with significant metropolises in North the US and Europe from Chicago to Paris. A multi-faceted paintings that speaks to students in city stories, literature, and history, Imagining the Edgy urban is a wealthy instance of interdisciplinary scholarship at its most sensible.

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Their identities have never been fixed, however. The shifting boundary between kin and stranger, native and foreign, us and them, invites critical reflection on the aspirations toward civility and cosmopolitanism in the present-day city’s aspirations to remedy a long history of exclusion while still policing economic and political borders. 8 • i m a g i n i n g t h e e d gy c i t y Civil, Cosmopolitan, and Other Terms of Urban Hospitality Upstart cities in the North as well as the South have challenged the norms of modernity and civility in the North by demonstrating the constitutive character of tensions between civil and uncivil modernity in urban life.

Recalling these histories of cosmopolitan exchange, as well as of their xenophobic disavowal since the nineteenth century, counters the rather amnesiac language of exception and 10 • i m a g i n i n g t h e e d gy c i t y emergency with which both cosmopolitanism and xenophobia have been treated in the early twenty-first century. By treating cosmopolitan as an attribute rather than a concept or an institution, I wish to show the improvised, performative quality of cosmopolitan agency, affiliation, or practices.

4 While “global city” may have become “the aspiration for cities around the world” (Robinson 2006, 112), including sprawling mega-cities like Mexico City that even resident researchers call a “monstropolis” (García-Canclini 2009, 87), the “global city” label functions as a “regulatory fiction” (Robinson 2006, 113), rather than as a term that might take account of the range of transnational networks from below as well as above that shape cities in the world. The Endless City, the Urban Age project sponsored by the London School of 4.

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