Cutting Power Lines within the Palace? Countering Paternity and Eurocentrism in the ‘Geographical Tradition’



This paper attempts to combine critical feminist and post-colonial approaches to suggest how more inclusive histories of geography may be written. Drawing on the specific example of women travellers in West Africa during the late nineteenth century, the paper proposes strategies to disrupt the masculinist and eurocentric construction of ‘the geographical tradition’. These strategies include moving beyond a disciplinary focus, disrupting essentialisms, interrogating whiteness and authority, and attempting to reveal the historical agency and resistance of colonized others. The problematic and antagonist relationship between the recovery of the agency of white women and the recovery of non-Western agency and resistance is recognized, and it is suggested that countering eurocentrism requires a rethinking of current forms of countering paternity.