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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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Chapter Five The “Megacity” as the Face of 21st-Century India: Rethinking Urban Life Beyond the Binaries of Globalism (Koeli Moitra Goel)


chapter five

The “Megacity” as the Face of 21st-Century India: Rethinking Urban Life Beyond the Binaries of Globalism

koeli moitra goel

If it is agreed that a definitive component of globalization is the global city, a similar focus on the city should serve the study of globalization equally well. (Canclini, 2001, 253)

(T)he making of the Indian world-class city cannot be simply understood as an elite project or as the interests of property capital, or even as the practice of an activist state. (Roy, 2011a, 266)

The city is viewed not as an exclusive site of capitalism or postcolonial activism, but as a milieu that is in constant formation, drawing on disparate connections, and subject to the play of national and global forces. (Ong, 2011, 1–3)

i. introduction

National identity work initiated by elite groups at the inception of an independent postcolonial India was West-centric, modernistic, and structurally urban. The expansive National Capital Region (NCR) became a productive space for articulating nation-building ventures. This chapter examines the NCR, especially Gurgaon in Haryana, and New Delhi, as the material ground which exemplifies spatial action and neoliberal selfhood in strategic performances of national identity. Recurrent attempts at building a coherent Indian identity marked by urban newness have consistently paved over multiple strains of minority and marginalized histories of a largely rural and forested country. Moreover, with state discourses routinely eliding the nature of the country’s multicultural,...

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