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New publication: Geographies of Connectivity in East Africa: Trains, Telecommunications, and Technological Teleologies
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I’m very happy to announce that a paper that I co-authored with Casper Andersen and Laura Mann has been accepted for publication in the Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers

Graham, M., Andersen, C., and Mann, L. 2015 Geographical Imagination and Technological Connectivity in East Africa. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 40(3) 334-349. (pre-publication version here).

The paper analyses and compares two transformative moments of technologically-mediated change in East Africa, the construction of the Uganda railway between Mombasa and Lake Victoria (1896-1903) and the introduction of fibre-optic cables that landed into the ports of Dar Es Salaam and Mombasa in 2009. 

It uses discourse analysis to examine how technologically-mediated connectivity has been represented by political and economic actors during these transformative moments. In both cases, we explore the origins of the expectations of connectivity and the hope and fear associated with them. 

Building on Massey’s notion of power-geometry and Sheppard’s concept of positionality the paper focuses on power relationships in discussions of connectivity and asks how people understand the abilities of transformative technologies to modify positionalities and alter relational distance and proximity. Ultimately, by examining historical and contemporary expectations of connectivity in East Africa, this paper allows us to work towards creating more grounded and historicised understandings of the coming-together of technology and connectivity.

Our paper at the Network Inclusion Roundtable: Geographies of Information Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa

Chris Foster and I have had the opportunity to participate in the Network Inclusion Roundtable: organised by IT For Change in Bangalore.

Our short paper, titled ’Geographies of Information Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa’ is available at this link.

The paper is a beginning to think about what connectivity means to inclusion in the ‘network society.’ Connectivity certainly isn’t a sufficient condition for inclusion and equity, and we need to ask whether it is a necessary one.

We point to connectivity as an amplifier: one that often reinforces rather than reduces inequality. We therefore need to move towards deeper critical socio-economic interrogations of the barriers or structures that limit activity and reproduce digital inequality. The categorisations developed in the paper offer an empirically-driven and systematic way to understand these barriers in more detail.
New paper published: Neogeography and the Palimpsests of Place: Web 2.0 and the Construction of a Virtual Earth
A paper that I submitted to The Journal of Economic and Social Geography (TESG) has just been published in the latest issue.
Places have always been palimpsests. The contemporary is constantly being constructed upon the foundations of the old. Yet only recently has place begun to take on an entirely new dimension. Millions of places are being represented in cyberspace by a labour force of hundreds of thousands of writers, cartographers and artists. This paper traces the history and geography of virtual places. The virtual Earth is not a simple mirror of its physical counterpart, but is instead characterised by both black holes of information and hubs of rich description and detail. The tens of millions of places represented virtually are part of a worldwide engineering project that is unprecedented in scale or scope and made possible by contemporary Web 2.0 technologies. The virtual Earth that has been constructed is more than just a collection of digital maps, images and articles that have been uploaded into Web 2.0 cyberspaces; it is instead a fluid and malleable alternate dimension that both influences and is influenced by the physical world.

Those with institutional access can access the article here, otherwise a pdf can be downloaded from this link.