Urban Design, Chaos, and Colonial Power in Zanzibar

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Indiana University Press, 2011 - History - 378 pages
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Across Africa and elsewhere, colonialism promised to deliver progress and development. In urban spaces like Zanzibar, the British vowed to import scientific techniques and practices, ranging from sanitation to urban planning, to create a perfect city. Rather than remaking space, these designs often unraveled. Plans were formulated and then fell by the wayside, over and over again. By focusing on these flawed efforts to impose colonial order, William Cunningham Bissell offers a different view of colonialism and cities, revealing the contradictions, confusion, and even chaos that lay at the very core of British rule. At once an engaging portrait of a cosmopolitan African city and an exploration of colonial irrationality, Urban Design, Chaos, and Colonial Power in Zanzibar opens up new perspectives on the making of modernity and the metropolis.

 

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Contents

Landscapes of Power and Planning
1
Space and Society in Zanzibar City
22
Colonial Practices and the Ambiguities of Power
68
Struggling to Make Sense of Urban Space
108
Clearing Out and Cleaning Up the Colonial City
149
5 Development and the Dilemmas of Expertise
185
Circularity and Secrecy in the Pursuit of Planning
216
Legal Confusion and Bureaucratic Chaos in Colonial Planning
267
Reflections on Planning Colonial Power and Continuities in the Present
310
Notes
335
Bibliography
347
Index
359
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About the author (2011)

William Cunningham Bissell is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at Lafayette College.

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