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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 Thirteen The Territory as an Extractive Network: A Reading from the Mining Museum (Karla Palma)


chapter thirteen

The Territory as an Extractive Network: A Reading from the Mining Museum

karla palma


The rock arrives in a context; if we are going to build a mining center and we are going to build a mining museum, the rock was the first thing to be installed, [then] the rest was to be built around it. […] Now, how to install it? Moving it required a huge engineering plan from the Universidad Católica and Los Pelambres, I mean, it is assumed that it weighs between 15 to 17 tons.

(Interview, Andróniko Luksic Mining Center, Santiago, 2014)

We could think of mining museums as institutions that are far from controversies. In the mining museum, the visitor can find rocks, together with narratives of the mining process and technological artifacts developed to tame mining veins. Mining museums contain the “fixed realities” which present the hard truths of mining. This term, coined by Bhabha (1999) in his postcolonial analysis of historical narratives, is applied by Gonzalez (2008) to the analysis of museums, in which “fixed realities” take the shape of “totalities” through displays, signs, subjects, and the exercise of power. These “totalities” go beyond the mere materiality of the artifacts themselves and become narratives that construct historical, geographical, and aesthetic ties between the viewing subjects and the objects they encounter (González, 2008), resulting in the subjection of the audience through their experience in the museum.

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