Following World War II the American government and philanthropic foundations fundamentally remade American universities into sites for producing knowledge about the world as a collection of distinct nation-states. As neoliberal reforms took hold in the 1980s, visions of the world made popular within area studies and international studies found themselves challenged by ideas and educational policies that originated in business schools and international financial institutions. Academics within these institutions reimagined the world instead as a single global market and higher education as a commodity to be bought and sold. By the 1990s, American universities embraced this language of globalization, and globalization eventually became the organizing logic of higher education.
In Making the World Global: U.S. Universities and the Production of the Global Imaginary (Duke UP, 2019), Isaac A. Kamola examines how the relationships among universities, the American state, philanthropic organizations, and international financial institutions created the conditions that made it possible to imagine the world as global. Examining the Center for International Studies, Harvard Business School, the World Bank, the Social Science Research Council, and NYU, Kamola demonstrates that how we imagine the world is always symptomatic of the material relations within which knowledge is produced.
Dr. Kamola is currently an Associate Professor of Political Science and President of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) chapter at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
Sara Katz is a postdoctoral associate in the history department at Duke University.
Sara Katz is a postdoctoral fellow in the Arts & Humanities Grant Studio at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her research examines the history of the Nigerian hajj in the colonial and postcolonial periods. Her interests include Muslim-Christian relations, visual culture, and global Islam.