How do authoritarian political leaders use the built environment to shape understandings of national identity and history? How do major urban development projects affect the political fortunes of authoritarian governments? Why do so many people routinely experience social control and the threat of violence in nominally democratic regimes? These are some of the questions that the contributors to the new edited volume Spatializing Authoritarianism (Syracuse UP, 2022) hope to answer. My guest today, the volume’s editor Natalie Koch, will discuss what geographers can contribute to the study of authoritarianism.
Natalie Koch is a professor of geography at Syracuse University. Her previous works include a solo-authored book, The Geopolitics of Spectacle: Space, Synecdoche, and the New Capitals of Asia (Cornell UP, 2018) and articles on a range of topics related to nationalism and nation-building, the politics of natural resources, urban politics, and the geopolitics of Central Asia and the Middle East. She is currently a visiting professor at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.
Geoffrey Gordon is a PhD candidate in comparative politics at the University of Virginia. Follow him on Twitter: @geofflgordon.