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Spaces of New Colonialism

Reading Schools, Museums, and Cities in the Tumult of Globalization


Edited By Cameron McCarthy, Koeli Moitra Goel, Ergin Bulut, Warren Crichlow, Brenda Nyandiko Sanya and Bryce Henson

Spaces of New Colonialism is an edited volume of 16 essays and interviews by prominent and emerging scholars who examine how the restructuring of capitalist globalization is articulated to key sites and institutions that now cut an ecumenical swath across human societies. The volume is the product of sustained, critical rumination on current mutations of space and material and cultural assemblages in key institutional flashpoints of contemporary societies undergoing transformations sparked by neoliberal globalization. The flashpoints foregrounded in this edited volume are concentrated in the nexus of schools, museums and the city. The book features an intense transnational conversation within an online collective of scholars who operate in a variety of disciplines and speak from a variety of locations that cut across the globe, north and south. Spaces of New Colonialism began as an effort to connect political dynamics that commenced with the Arab spring and uprisings and protests against white-on-black police violence in US cities to a broader reading of the career, trajectory and effects of neoliberal globalization.

Contributors look at key flashpoints or targets of neoliberalism in present-day societies: the school, the museum and the city. Collectively, they maintain that the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit movement in England marked a political maturation, not a mere aberration, of some kind—evidence of some new composition of forces, new and intensifying forms of stratification, ultimately new colonialism—that now distinctively characterizes this period of neoliberal globalization.

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Foreword: Citification, Mediatization, Theme Park-ification of the Contemporary US Midwest University (Angharad N. Valdivia)


Foreword: Citification, Mediatization, Theme Park-ification of the Contemporary US Midwest University

angharad n. valdivia

“We don’t need more books,” she said, “we need furniture.”

—A librarian’s response to an offer of a book endowment

In their provocative and important contribution towards “Understanding the spaces of new colonialism,” McCarthy, Goel, Bulut, Crichlow, Sanya, and Henson declare: “we aim to draw attention to different specific spatial logics of neoliberalism and commodification of social commons as these are violently or spectacularly realized within schools, museums, and the broader urban contexts both in the Global North and Global South.” I want to explore the peculiar spatialization of the university as a privileged site of schooling that dispossesses a multiplicity of populations while containing local versions of the Global North and the Global South. Through spatial logics of neoliberalism, the university has become both a gentrified city and a collection of museums through a range of transitions and displacements. Using my land grant university as a brief case study, we can discern the conversion of the social commons into a spectacularly organized location for privilege and consumer subjects through the commodification of an ever-increasing number of formerly free and accessible aspects of the university.

My brief statements address the overlap between schooling, represented by a large Midwest US Research 1 university, and the keywords identified by this research team: spatial, neoliberalism, commodification, globalization, colonialism, and social commons. I choose my university as a specific spatial...

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