On the rise of the “Innovation Center,” in the Chronicle of Higher Ed

I have a short piece in the Chronic on the proliferation of "innovation centers," "makerspaces," "hubs," etc. in American universities. My argument, in short, is that academic institutions and the administrators who run them are, generally speaking, not innovative, and that innovation centers function mostly as vanity projects and political missions for wealthy donors. At … Continue reading On the rise of the “Innovation Center,” in the Chronicle of Higher Ed

Happy Imperialist #Entrepreneurship Day from the Keywords #Team! [Updated!]

Every Columbus Day, it's popular to draw fatuous links between the contemporary cult of entrepreneurship and the legacy of Christopher Columbus’ conquest—err, startup—of America some 500 years ago. After all, who better to take life and leadership lessons from than a famously venal and cruel 15th-century sea captain whose own men overthrew him? https://twitter.com/JarrettStepman/status/916708382567993345 Life Lessons … Continue reading Happy Imperialist #Entrepreneurship Day from the Keywords #Team! [Updated!]

The More Innovation Changes, The More It Stays the Same

Reading for "innovation" in the history of management and self-help literature reminds me of a line from the beginning of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man: “Beware of those who speak of the spiral of history; they are preparing a boomerang. Keep a steel helmet handy.” A spiral of history can be understood as a historical movement marked by reverses, repetitions, … Continue reading The More Innovation Changes, The More It Stays the Same

New article: “Innovation and the Neoliberal Idioms of Development”

I have a new academic-ish article up at boundary 2 online in a special issue edited by David Golumbia on the "Digital Turn." It's on "social innovation" and the way that it circulates in the so-called "Third World" and in humanitarian and development agencies. It picks up on the argument of my first book, which explored the … Continue reading New article: “Innovation and the Neoliberal Idioms of Development”

“Innovation and the Neoliberal Idioms of Development” – out now at boundary 2 online

I have an essay in a great new collection edited by David Golumbia at boundary 2 online, on the Digital Turn--it's a group of essays offering critical appraisals of the practice and history of technological evangelism in the present day. My contribution is called "Innovation and the Neoliberal Idioms of Development." “Human creativity and human … Continue reading “Innovation and the Neoliberal Idioms of Development” – out now at boundary 2 online

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 32: The Take

The "take" has been carefully studied, and its obituary hopefully written many times. As historians of the take like Tomás Ríos, Elspeth Reeve, and John Herrman have argued, the take, whether it's "hot" or not, shares two major, related characteristics: huffy moralizing and speed. The take must come as quickly as possible after the event that requires … Continue reading Keywords for the Age of Austerity 32: The Take

You say “right-leaning,” I say “Alfredo Stroessner”

The phrases "right-leaning" and "left-leaning" have always infuriated me, for perhaps obvious reasons--it's a symptom of the "one-the-one-side-on-the-other" pantomime of even-handedness by which American media depoliticize politics. That is, there are no real sides, and no fundamental disagreements; there is only a political blob called "the center," on either bulging side of which different opinions … Continue reading You say “right-leaning,” I say “Alfredo Stroessner”