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Title:Glocal naming and shaming: toponymic (inter)national relations on Lagos and New York's streets
Author:Adebanwi, WaleISNI
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Geographic terms:Nigeria
United States
Subjects:place names
urban environment
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/23357173
Abstract:Streets are sites of hegemony and counter-hegemony, of inclusion and exclusion, of incorporation and expulsion, and of cooperation or conflict. Thus, in the cultural geography of cities, commemorative street names are critical sites of social reproduction. Commemorative street naming is both an historical referent as well as a spatial designation. Recent literature on toponymy calls attention to such practices as important cultural and political arenas for understanding sociopolitical processes, but often focuses on the politics and sociality of street naming within local, national politics to the exclusion of how local politics intersects with international politics. This article examines the politics of spatial inscription and the social reproduction of 'place' or 'space' on a street corner in New York City named after Kudirat Abiola, an assassinated woman activist in Nigeria, and the retaliatory renaming by the military regime of a Lagos street hosting the US Embassy after the African American anti-establishment activist Louis Farrakhan. Subsequently, the next democratic government of Nigeria renamed the street, this time after the US ambassador, the African American Walter Carrington. Toponymy, the article concludes, can thus be seen as a form of retortion in international relations. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]