At the start of the 21st century, conventional approaches to understanding transnational urbanism and the contemporary modern metropolis have become unsettled. The unprecedented hyper-growth of the sprawling mega-cities of the (so-called) Global South, coupled with the proliferation of post-industrial “shrinking cities” in the core areas of the world economy, has fundamentally altered the pace and form of global urbanism. Yet the dominant theories used to study cities remain largely tied to the urban experience of a handful of leading world-class cities of Europe and North America. There is a growing interest in re-conceptualizing the field of urban toward a less-deductive theoretical openness that seeks through comparison and contrast to account for the historical-spatial specificity of those cities which are “off the map.
Amal Hassan Fadlalla, Associate Professor of Women's Studies, Anthropology, and Afroamerican and African Studies