Janet Abu-Lughod

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Janet Abu-Lughod
Janet Lippman

(1928-08-03)August 3, 1928
DiedDecember 14, 2013(2013-12-14) (aged 85)
New York City, New York
EducationUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst
Known forUrban Studies; World-systems theory
Spouse(s)Ibrahim Abu-Lughod m 1951, div. 1991
ChildrenLila, Mariam, Deena, and Jawad

Janet Lippman Abu-Lughod (August 3, 1928 – December 14, 2013) was an American sociologist with major contributions to World-systems theory and Urban sociology.[1][2]


She was married in 1951–1991 to Ibrahim Abu-Lughod. They had four children; Lila, Mariam, Deena, and Jawad.[3]

Early life[edit]

While still at high school she was influenced by the works of Lewis Mumford about urbanization.[4]


The 13th century world-system. Map based on Janet Abu-Lughod's work.

Janet Abu-Lughod held graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her teaching career began at the University of Illinois, took her to the American University in Cairo, Smith College, and Northwestern University, where she taught for twenty years and directed several urban studies programmes. In 1987 she accepted a professorship in sociology and historical studies at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research, from which she retired as professor emerita in 1998.[5] She published over a hundred articles and thirteen books dealing with urban sociology, the history and dynamics of the World System, and Middle Eastern cities, including an urban history of Cairo that is still considered one of the classic works on that city: Cairo: 1001 Years of the City Victorious.

In 1976 she was awarded a John Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for Sociology.[6]

She was especially famous for her monograph Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350 where she argued that a pre-modern world system extending across Eurasia existed in the 13th Century, prior to the formation of the modern world-system identified by Immanuel Wallerstein. In addition, she argued that the "rise of the West," beginning with the intrusion of armed Portuguese ships into the relatively peaceful trade networks of the Indian Ocean in the 16th century, was not a result of features internal to Europe, but was made possible by a collapse in the previous world system.

She published several well-received works on American cities including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles: America's Global Cities and Race, Space, and Riots in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.

She died aged 85 in New York City on December 14, 2013.[1]


  • Cairo: 1001 Years of the City Victorious. Princeton University Press. 1971. p. 284. ISBN 978-0-691-03085-2.
  • Race, Space, and Riots in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. USA: Oxford University Press. 2007. p. 360. ISBN 978-0-19-532875-2.
  • New York, Chicago, Los Angeles: America's Global Cities. University of Minnesota Press. 2000. p. 580. ISBN 978-0-8166-3336-4.
  • Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350. USA: Oxford University Press. 1991. p. 464. ISBN 978-0-19-506774-3.
  • Changing Cities: Urban Sociology. Harpercollins College Div. 1991. p. 441. ISBN 978-0-06-040138-2.
  • Rabat, Urban Apartheid in Morocco. Princeton Studies on the Near East. Princeton University Press. 1981. p. 374. ISBN 978-0-691-10098-2.


  1. ^ a b "JANET L. ABU-LUGHOD Obituary: View JANET ABU-LUGHOD's Obituary by New York Times". legacy.com. Retrieved 2014-11-30.
  2. ^ John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1973). Reports of the President and the Treasurer - John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. ISSN 0190-227X. Retrieved 2014-11-30.
  3. ^ Edward Said (June 12, 2001). Ibrahim Abu-Lughod "The Guardian(obituary)" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2009-08-31. Said 2001 misspells Deena's name as "Dina"; it is correctly spelled in Pace 2001.
  4. ^ "First Annual Lewis Mumford Lecture" (PDF). 2000-04-12. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-08-15. Retrieved 2009-08-31. When I was still in high school, there were four books I read that left a life-shaping effect on everything I have since thought about cities. Two of those -- Technics and Civilization (first published in 1934), and The Culture of Cities (first published in 1938) -- were written by Lewis Mumford. They made an urbanist out of me, and I was not alone. Single-handedly, Mumford's writings placed cities on the agenda of ordinary Americans.
  5. ^ "Getcited - Janet Abu-Lughot". Archived from the original on 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2009-08-31.
  6. ^ "Guggenheim Fellowships". Archived from the original on 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2009-08-31.