Map the gap: alternative visualisations of geographic knowledge production

Geo: Geography and Environment.

Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, and Margath Walker develop a new method for visualizing knowledge production which is attentive to the multiple elements embedded in research processes. 

In particular, they seek to problematise the representation of scholarship indicators by depicting theoretical contributions and field sites along a spectrum, rather than as discrete points, recursively and relationally constituted. The primary aim of their visualisations is to capture text and context, and codified and tacit knowledge. First, they offer a conventional representation of the location of selected dominant critical theories in Geography, arguing that current methods reinforce ‘lopsided’ geographies of knowledge production. Normative practices of data visualisation and representation captured in our two examples privilege certain elements centred on authorship and tend to silence the contexts informing research. Second, they borrow the term and method of chromatography, a tool used in the natural sciences but here conceived in its more literal sense of ‘writing the separations’. Their ‘chromatographical’ representations attempt to unbundle components currently absorbed by formal indicators of knowledge production. Such counter mappings attempt to convey the relational aspect of research between countries imbricated in the propagation of exemplary critical geographic theories. They conclude with a discussion of the implications that the disaggregation of value has for scholars and their research.


Margath Walker
University of Louisville

Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah,
Assistant Professor
Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University at Buffalo


Geo: Geography and Environment

Date Published