Port Cities in Global Perspective: An Introduction
This volume examines the phenomena of mobility and migration in port cities at the height of the steamship era, ca. 1860-1930. The inherent contradiction that ports were the source of a city’s (or a country’s or an Empire’s) esteem in the world on the one hand and that on the other, the ports’ unwanted and uncontrollable processes prompted negative reactions, is the common thread of all articles. Our approach to the study of port cities focuses on the contact in ports between people of different origin. This contact situation has the potential to put into question one’s concept of the city, the nation, the religious community, civilization, or even time. By consequence, it can threaten existing power structures and has the capacity to alter or reaffirm urban and national identities.