Walking, seeing, and being seen in the city - as voyeur or as the subject of surveillance - have a long and contested history.
City planning in the last half century has been increasingly fraught with contradictory desires to promote commerce as well as ostensibly progressive initiatives such as greening, the re-pedestrianization of cities, and the rehabilitation of historic neighbourhoods as sites to make the past more palatable and profitable.
This special issue of Radical History Review historicizes and reconsiders the flaneur - the city stroller - as the iconic bystander to the spectacle of urban life and change, drawing perspectives from urban and public history, museum studies, geography, and sociology.
One article analyzes Australian frontier towns, where notions of indigeneity are commodified for white consumers while Aborigines themselves are unwelcome.
Another examines the "funereal flanerie" of protestors in Guatemala who stage scenes of public mourning to engage the radical power of dead bodies in public spaces.
Flanerie and drifting are explored as pedagogical tools to draw students out of the controlled settings of college campuses. Contributors to this issue examine the physical experience of city walking - determined by architecture, street signs, traffic lights, and each walker's differently abled body - alongside the subtler class, racial, and historical markers that define who in city spaces is imagined to be respectable and who is dangerous.