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What happens if we start from Nigeria? Diversifying histories of geography

Neate, Hannah ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0131-1578 and Craggs, Ruth (2019) What happens if we start from Nigeria? Diversifying histories of geography. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. ISSN 0004-5608

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This paper asks, what if, rather than starting from the United States of America or the United Kingdom in histories of geography, we start from Nigeria? Focusing on Nigerian geographers working in Nigeria’s first university 1945-1990, and drawing on archival evidence and oral history interviews, it argues that the view from Nigeria offers important new perspectives on the history of geography. First, it highlights the intellectual contribution of Nigerian scholars, highlighting the partial and exclusionary nature of many traditional histories. Second, it illuminates the as yet unacknowledged impact of the Cold War on the discipline far beyond the United States and Soviet Union. Third, this new perspective makes it possible to consider afresh the contemporary Anglo-American hegemony of ‘international’ geography, providing evidence of the consequences of this hegemony for scholars working beyond the west, and revealing the less hierarchical disciplinary maps that at some moments appeared possible. Fourth, by highlighting the shifting structures which facilitated and foreclosed opportunities for participation in the international geographical community, the paper considers what - for the work of constructing a more equal academic community in the future - we might learn from this earlier period.

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