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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii Introduction: Afropolis / Achille Mbembe and Sarah Nuttall 1 1. Aesthetics of Superfluity / Achille Mbembe 37 2. People as Infrastructure / Abdoumaliq Simone 68 3. Stylizing the Self / Sarah Nuttall 91 4. Gandhi, Mandela, and the African Modern / Jonathan Hyslop 119 5. Art Johannesburg and Its Objects / David Bunn 137 6. The Suffering Body of the City / Frederic Le Marcis 170 7. Literary City / Sarah Nuttall 195 Voice Lines Instant City / John Matshikiza 221 Soweto Now / Achille Mbembe, Nsizwa Dlamini, and Grace Khunou 239 The Arrivants / Tom Odhiambo and Robert Muponde 248 Johannesburg, Metropolis of Mozambique / Stefan Helgesson 259 Sounds in the City / Xavier Livermon 271 Nocturnal Johannesburg / Julia Hornberger 285 Megamalls, Generic City / Fred De Vries 297 Yeoville Confidential / Achal Prabhala 307 From the Ruins / Mark Gevisser 317 Reframing Township Space / Lindsay Bremner 337 Afterword: The Risk of Johannesburg / Arjun Appadurai and Carol A. Breckenridge 349 Bibliography 355 Contributors 375 Index

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Scholarly and creative essays on Johannesburg that focus on the city's modern and cosmopolitan status

About the Author

Sarah Nuttall is Associate Professor of Literature and Cultural Studies at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER), University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She is the author of Entanglement: Literary and Cultural Reflections on Post-Apartheid (forthcoming) and an editor of several books, including Beautiful/Ugly: African and Diaspora Aesthetics, also published by Duke University Press. Achille Mbembe is Research Professor in History and Politics at WISER. He is the author of On the Postcolony and La naissance du maquis dans le Sud-Cameroun and a co-editor of Le politique par le bas en Afrique noire.


"Taken together, the essays in Johannesburg: The Elusive Metropolis offer radically new ways of thinking about this complex city, as well as many hints about emerging or re-emerging cities elsewhere. The essays challenge dominant models of urbanism and demonstrate with force and subtlety how African cities in general and Johannesburg in particular outpace urban theory. Each essay 'de-scribes' the city now in order to envision the city to come. In this volume, we hear--over the droning cliches that still circulate about the African city's ruin and decadence--another note, another cadence."--Ackbar Abbas, author of Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance "An extraordinary exploration of what is so often left out of accounts about cities: what is beneath and what is at the edge. It goes where much of the urban scholarship leaves off or, rather, trails off. The authors' project to write Johannesburg into today's history will serve as a compass to enable researchers and writers to engage other cities that have been left out of history or given a narrow colonial presence."--Saskia Sassen, author of Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages

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