The word “ghetto” has taken on different meanings since its coinage in the 16th century. The uses of this term have varied considerably, from its original understanding as a compulsory Jewish quarter in Venice to its appropriation by black Americans to describe racial segregation in the United States. Daniel Schwartz
traces this fascinating history in Ghetto: The History of a Word
(Harvard University Press, 2019) and examines how “ghetto” has come to occupy different meanings to different people in a variety of historical and cultural contexts.
Daniel Schwartz is Associate Professor of History and Judaic Studies at George Washington University.
Lindsey Jackson is a PhD student at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.