Dystopic Images of the Modern City
Edited by Gyan Prakash
Dystopic imagery has figured prominently in modern depictions of the urban landscape. The city is often portrayed as a terrifying world of darkness, crisis, and catastrophe. Noir Urbanisms traces the history of the modern city through its critical representations in art, cinema, print journalism, literature, sociology, and architecture. It focuses on visual forms of dystopic representation--because the history of the modern city is inseparable from the production and circulation of images--and examines their strengths and limits as urban criticism.
Contributors explore dystopic images of the modern city in Germany, Mexico, Japan, India, South Africa, China, and the United States. Their topics include Weimar representations of urban dystopia in Fritz Lang's 1927 film Metropolis; 1960s modernist architecture in Mexico City; Hollywood film noir of the 1940s and 1950s; the recurring fictional destruction of Tokyo in postwar Japan's sci-fi doom culture; the urban fringe in Bombay cinema; fictional explorations of urban dystopia in postapartheid Johannesburg; and Delhi's out-of-control and media-saturated urbanism in the 1980s and 1990s. What emerges in Noir Urbanisms is the unsettling and disorienting alchemy between dark representations and the modern urban experience.
In addition to the editor, the contributors are David R. Ambaras, James Donald, Rubén Gallo, Anton Kaes, Ranjani Mazumdar, Jennifer Robinson, Mark Shiel, Ravi Sundaram, William M. Tsutsui, and Li Zhang.
Gyan Prakash is the Dayton-Stockton Professor of History at Princeton University. His books include Another Reason: Science and the Imagination of Modern India, and The Spaces of the Modern City: Imaginaries, Politics, and Everyday Life (both Princeton).