22nd October 2013
This presentation answers the question in the title first by presenting some methodological observations involved in the study of historical connections and contingencies of multiple geographical scopes that drove the expansion of racial segregationist ideas and practices across the world from 1700 through the early-twentieth century period of “segregation mania.” During that time, in South Africa and United States, white settlers put in place the two most elaborate and longest-lasting systems of urban racial division. The two systems were deeply connected, but contingencies involving black-white politics meant that the U.S. government took a more circumscribed role in dividing cities, forcing urban reformers and real-estate institutions to do more of the job. These institutions have, by our time, proven more elusive and harder to combat than the state-driven practices of South African apartheid.
Carl Nightingale is Professor of Urban and World History in the Department of Transnational Studies at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. His book, Segregation: a Global History of Divided Cities, is co-winner of the 2012 Jerry Bentley Award from the World History Association and the American Historical Association. It traces the spread of practices of racial segregationist in cities from their most ancient roots through the rise of racial segregation as a global phenomenon in the years from 1700 to the present. It ties together primary research on cities in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas with an extensive synthetic reading of the history of urban politics worldwide. He has published numerous articles on the intersections of urban history, world history, and critical race theory in the American Historical Review, the Journal of Social History, and blogs the Journal of Urban History among other places. He also writes a blog: “Global Segregation…”