It’s hard to escape cities these days, both in reality (by 2100—covid-19 or other pandemics permitting—maybe as much as 75 percent of humanity will be living or existing in one) and in a ferocious multiplicity of imagined projections. “Sin,” “ancient,” “epic,” “world,” “imperial,” “consumer,” “pre-industrial,” “shadow,” “globalized,” “drifting,” “invisible,” “migrant,” not to mention “imaginary”—these are just some of the epithets I’ve recently seen bestowed on monographs, novels, movies, and comic-strip cartoons of which the second term in the title is “city” or “cities.” As the co-editor of an academic monograph series in which Arjan Zuiderhoek’s The...


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