Flammable cities: Urban conflagration and the making of the modern world

Greg Bankoff*, Uwe Lübken, Jordan Sand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBook

45 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Wisconsin Press
Number of pages409
ISBN (Print)9780299283841
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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