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The word “ghetto” has taken on different meanings since its coinage in the 16th century. The uses of this term have varied considerably, from...

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.