Nigeria's Urban History: Past and Present

Article excerpt

Nigeria's Urban History: Past and Present. Edited by Hakeem Ibikunle Tijani. New York: University Press of America, 2006. Pp. xiv, 256; 19 tables. $37.00 paper.

This edited volume comprises sixteen chapters examining the various political, social, and economic aspects of Nigeria's experience with urbanization. Focusing on the twentieth century, the contributors examine such diverse topics as the impact of colonialism on urbanization in Nigeria, the role of gender in urban development, the influence of traditional religions in the urban setting, and even the impact of theater and drama on urban development. Notably, most of the contributors are currently employed at Nigerian institutions of higher education.

While the broad variety of topics covered should appeal to readers seeking broad insights into recent scholarship on Nigerian urbanization, this variety is also a weakness of this work. Indeed, as is too often the case with edited volumes, this collection lacks any sort of unifying theme beyond that provided by the subject matter. As a result, each author is left to put forward their own definition of urbanization (or, as in the case of one chapter, citing freedictionary.com for the definition). As a result, while some of the chapters are quite interesting and effectively presented, the coherence of the volume is seriously compromised. Perhaps a concluding essay by the editor would have helped to place the various chapters' conclusions into a more coherent context. …