IFRA-Nigeria resource centre


Photo bandeau superieur

Histories of Dirt in West Africa: Media and Urban Life in Colonial and Postcolonial Lagos
Title: Histories of Dirt in West Africa: Media and Urban Life in Colonial and Postcolonial Lagos
Authors: Stephanie Newell, Author
Material Type: printed text
Publisher: Durham : Duke University Press, 2020
ISBN (or other code): 978-1-4780-0706-7
Size - Page: 249
General note: In Histories of Dirt Stephanie Newell traces the ways in which urban spaces and urban dwellers come to be regarded as dirty, as exemplified in colonial and postcolonial Lagos. Newell conceives dirt as an interpretive category that facilitates moral, sanitary, economic, and aesthetic evaluations of other cultures under the rubric of uncleanliness. She examines a number of texts ranging from newspaper articles by elite Lagosians to colonial travel writing, public health films, and urban planning to show how understandings of dirt came to structure colonial governance. Seeing Lagosians as sources of contagion and dirt, British colonizers used racist ideologies and discourses of dirt to justify racial segregation and public health policies. Newell also explores possibilities for non-Eurocentric methods for identifying African urbanites' own values and opinions by foregrounding the voices of contemporary Lagosians through interviews and focus groups in which their responses to public health issues reflect local aesthetic tastes and values. In excavating the shifting role of dirt in structuring social and political life in Lagos, Newell provides new understandings of colonial and postcolonial urban history in West Africa.
Languages: English
Class number: 08.3.2 (Urbanism in Nigeria)
Keywords: Urbanism ; Urbanism in Africa ; Urbanism in Nigeria ; Lagos (Nigeria) ; Media in Nigeria ; History of Nigeria ; History of South West Nigeria


BarcodeCall numberMedia typeLocationSectionStatus
No copy




IFRA-Nigeria resource centre
ZI de Mont/Loir BP 10023
02 43 440 660

IFRA Resource Centre

(ground floor)
Institute of African Studies
University of Ibadan
Oyo State, NIGERIA

Opening Hours
Monday - Friday
9am - 4pm