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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 Eight A Tale of Two Cities: Dhaka’s Urban Imaginary in the Twenty-First Century (Nubras Samayeen)


chapter eight

A Tale of Two Cities: Dhaka’s Urban Imaginary in the Twenty-First Century

nubras samayeen

Enter Institute Sarita, China’s first finishing school. Started by Swiss finishing school graduate and Hongkonger Sara Jane Ho in Beijing in 2013 together with socialite Rebecca Li, the school, which claims to offer a bicultural approach to etiquette, has been met with tremendous popularity over the last two years—so much so that Ho had to relocate it from a two-story space in the city’s modern Sanlitun area to a larger, renovated courtyard setting in a historic neighborhood, all the while opening a new branch in a colonial villa in Shanghai in May 2015.

For about $15,000, well-heeled Chinese women can take part in 10- to 12-day courses, divided by either debutante or hostess classes, with lessons covering socializing tips, proper hotel manners, lingerie selection, introduction to French cuisine and noble sports, and how to pronounce luxury brands. (Cerini, 2016)

This narrative above is not a detour, but essentially an espousal to our argument that positions our discussion of cities under the broader dialogue zeitgeist of modernization with the values and urban materiality that permeate Third-World urbanization. Here, Western etiquette is a status symbol, and the price of having it is US $15,000, which is significant. Through the newly opened etiquette school in China, Western customs are ingeniously introduced and reproduced and seeped into Chinese culture. Here, Eastern women learn to behave...

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