SPATIALITIES OF KNOWLEDGE IN THE NEOLIBERAL WORLD ACADEMY:Theory, Practice and 21st Century Legacies of Area Studies

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    Abstract

    In order to develop adequate understandings and theories of global modernity it is essential to overcome the intellectual hindrances of Euro-Amerocentrism, which is both an intellectual legacy of imperialism and a very contemporary form of neoliberal power over global knowledge production. What Houben (2013) has called the "new area studies" has a central role to play in this challenging task. In this paper I have considered the limitations and some of the major critiques of area studies, revealing the ways that forms of knowledge, including even critiques of area studies coming from the disciplines, are based on structures and patterns of spatiality. A key difference between the old and new area studies is that the old area studies accepted the spatiality of knowledge as given, usually being content to merely describe that situation, and in the process effectively reinforcing the power differentials that have tied forms of knowledge to certain locations. In contrast, the new area studies take a critical stance. The new area studies understands the spatiality of knowledge emerging from historical effects of power, both imperialism and neoliberal capitalism. The new area studies understands that the spatiality of knowledge is not natural or inevitable but emerges as a contingent effect of the inequalities in power between peoples located in different parts of the planet. From this understanding the new area studies takes an activist epistemological position that seeks to resist and challenge the power inequalities that anchor certain forms of knowledge to certain spaces and locations on the planet. Most particularly, the new area studies aims to position areas as sites of general knowledge and active theory production, not merely passive objects of the Euro-American intellectual gaze.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages1-46
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    EventCrossroads Studies: Mobilities, Immobilities and the Issue of Positionality for Rethinking Area Studies - University of Bon
    Duration: 1 Jan 2015 → …

    Conference

    ConferenceCrossroads Studies: Mobilities, Immobilities and the Issue of Positionality for Rethinking Area Studies
    Period1/01/15 → …

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