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Martin Murray

Professor of Urban Planning
Professor of Sociology

Martin Murray is a professor of urban planning at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, where he focuses on planning in developing countries. He also is an adjunct professor in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies in U-M’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Murray began his academic career as a sociologist focused on urban geography. His current research engages the fields of urban studies and planning, global urbanism, cultural geography, distressed urbanism, development, historical sociology, and African studies. Specifically, he focuses on two fields of inquiry: first, the trajectories of global urbanism at the start of the 21st century, and second, the turn toward master-planned, holistically-designed “private cities” built from scratch, especially those currently under construction or in the planning stages in urban Africa.

In addition to six books and three co-edited volumes, Murray has written nearly 70 journal articles and book chapters that focus on diverse geographical areas of the world at different historical periods. After his first book, The Development of Capitalism in Colonial Indochina, 1870-1940 (University of California Press, 1980), Murray pursued a deep and abiding interest in the politics of South Africa and has published on a range of topics, including class formation and rural transformation, the transition from apartheid to parliamentary democracy, city building, and urban planning.

Murray has completed two books on city building and spatial politics in Johannesburg after apartheid. The first, Taming the Disorderly City (Cornell University Press, 2008), examines the challenges for urban planning in Johannesburg after the end of apartheid. The second, City of Extremes: Spatial Politics in Johannesburg (Duke University Press, 2011), looks at the city’s spatiality of wealth and poverty. The third installment in the intended trilogy, Panic City: Crime and the Fear industries in Johannesburg (Stanford University Press, forthcoming 2019), investigates the intersection of public policing and private security in contemporary Johannesburg.

In addition to his books and chapters in edited volumes, Murray’s research has appeared in a number of influential journals, including the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Environment & Planning A, Cultural Geography, Canadian Journal of African Studies, International Sociology, Journal of Southern African Studies, and Journal of African History. His most recent book is Commemorating and Forgetting: Challenges for a New South Africa (University of Minnesota Press, 2013).

Murray received a Bachelor or Arts in philosophy from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Arts in philosophy and a PhD in sociology from the University of Texas, Austin.