The First Ghetto

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In 1516, the Venetian ghetto was established, and the city’s Jewish population was segregated into it. This move was to redefine city life and set a blueprint for a European urban capitalist future. In The First Ghetto, Situationist Alice Becker-Ho takes a long look at the history of Venice-and its importance to cities in general-arguing that it became the heir to ancient traditions that turned it into a model commercial city whose problems we still grapple with today. Through its examination of the four major established theories of the etymology and implications of the word ‘ghetto’, Becker-Ho’s intervention has the potential not so much to add a fifth to these, but to reduce them to one, definitive account.