By Rashad Shabazz

About Rashad Shabazz

Rashad Shabazz is Associate Professor of Justice and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University. He is the author of Spatializing Blackness: Architectures of Confinement and Black Masculinity in Chicago (2015).


A city is a geographic region that consists of large numbers of people. Most dictionaries refer to it as a “large town,” but cities are more than that. Cities are living organisms. They are not stable; they change over time. The urban planner Lewis Mumford called the city a “theater of social action” ([1937] 2011, 93). And as theaters of social action, cities bring different kinds of bodies into close contact. The feminist geographer Elizabeth Grosz argues that the city is a kind of network that “links otherwise unrelated bodies” (1998, 32). The city is not simply an external thing outside of us; cities “seep into and effect all other elements that go into the constitution of” bodies (Grosz 1998, 35). The French social theorist and spatial thinker Henri Lefebvre described the city as a place where there are “relations of immediacy . . . between people and groups that …

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