Flammable Cities: Urban Conflagration and the Making of the Modern World

Overview

In most cities today, fire has been reduced to a sporadic and isolated threat. But throughout history the constant risk of fire has left a deep and lasting imprint on almost every dimension of urban society. This volume, the first truly global study of urban conflagration, shows how fire has shaped cities throughout the modern world, from Europe to the imperial colonies, major trade entrepôts, and non-European capitals, right up to such present-day megacities as Lagos and Jakarta. Urban fire may hinder commerce ...

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Flammable Cities: Urban Conflagration and the Making of the Modern World

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Overview

In most cities today, fire has been reduced to a sporadic and isolated threat. But throughout history the constant risk of fire has left a deep and lasting imprint on almost every dimension of urban society. This volume, the first truly global study of urban conflagration, shows how fire has shaped cities throughout the modern world, from Europe to the imperial colonies, major trade entrepôts, and non-European capitals, right up to such present-day megacities as Lagos and Jakarta. Urban fire may hinder commerce or even spur it; it may break down or reinforce barriers of race, class, and ethnicity; it may serve as a pretext for state violence or provide an opportunity for displays of state benevolence. As this volume demonstrates, the many and varied attempts to master, marginalize, or manipulate fire can turn a natural and human hazard into a highly useful social and political tool.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“How do people in an urban environment deal with the problem of fire? The essays in this book show how the answers vary depending on economic conditions, power structures, climate, and culture. An excellent collection.”—Johan Goudsblom, author of Fire and Civilization

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299283841
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 1/19/2012
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 14.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Greg Bankoff is professor of history at the University of Hull, UK. Uwe Lübken is “Disaster Migration” project director, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich. Jordan Sand is associate professor of Japanese history and culture at Georgetown University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

 

Part 1: Cities as Fire Regimes

1 Jan van der Heyden and the Origins of Modern Firefighting: Art and Technology in Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam

Susan Donahue Kuretsky

 

2 Governance, Arson, and Firefighting in Edo, 1600–1868

Jordan Sand and Steven Wills

 

3 Taming Fire in Valparaíso, Chile, 1840s–1870s

Samuel J. Martland

 

4 The Burning of a Modern City? Istanbul as Perceived by the Agents of the Sun Fire Office, 1865–1870

Cornel Zwierlein

 

5 Imperial Russia’s Urban Fire Regimes, 1700–1905

Cathy A. Frierson

 

6 Fighting Fires (or Not) in Porfirian Mexico

Amy S. Greenberg

 

Part 2: Fire as Risk and as a Catalyst of Change

7 The Great Fire of Lisbon, 1755

Mark Molesky

 

8 A Tale of Two Cities: The Pyro-Seismic Morphology of Nineteenth-Century Manila

Greg Bankoff

 

9 Fire and Urban Morphogenesis: Patterns of Destruction and Reconstruction in Nineteenth-Century Montreal

Jason Gilliland

 

10 The Great Fire of Hamburg, 1842: From Catastrophe to Reform

Dirk Schubert

 

11 Did the Fire Insurance Industry Help Reduce Urban Fires in the United States in the Nineteenth Century?

Sara E. Wermiel

 

12 Inflaming the Fears of Theatergoers: How Fires Shaped the Public Sphere in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1880–1910

Kristen McCleary

 

13 Points of Origin: The Social Impact of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire

Andrea Rees Davies

 

Part 3: The Politics of Fire

14 The Politics of Singapore’s Fire Narrative

Nancy H. Kwak

 

15 The Beirut Central District on Fire: Firefighting in a Divided City with Shifting Front Lines, 1975–1976

Sofia Toufic Shwayri

 

16 Who Burned Cleveland, Ohio? The Forgotten Fires of the 1970s

Daniel Kerr

 

17 “There Is More to This Fire Than Meets the Eye”: Anatomy of Fire Outbreaks in Lagos, Nigeria, 1980–2008

Ayodeji Olukoju

 

18 Fires, Urban Environments, and Politics in Contemporary Jakarta

Jérôme Tadié

 

Afterword: Fire on the Fringe

Stephen J. Pyne

 

Contributors

Index

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