Reordering of Space and References: Geological surveys in Ghana in the 1950-1960s

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The late 1950s-early 1960s witnessed a great increase of geological export to the Global South. Geologists and geographers were requested and trained worldwide. British, Russian, Polish, Yugoslavian and American experts, to name just a few, rushed to Ghana, Nigeria or Tanzania creating a situation in which thousands of international geological experts had been working for governments and/or private investors in the newly independent sub-Saharan countries. Most of the experts, whether American or Polish geologists, were already well-experienced and part of the international geological community that both in their projects and in their culture of knowledge has been transcending borders. Yet, the geological projects conducted in the Global South followed often contradictory, (purely) economic-nationalising goals and thus overlap in a conflictual way. The political interests of the respective project donors, reinforced by the conflicts of the Cold War, only complicated the already tense situation.

This paper will focus on the geological (re-)mapping of Ghana in the 1950-the 1960s that was undertaken by a set of different geological surveys representing among others Russian, Polish and American backgrounds and interests. By following the different surveys teams, it will show how the geological theoretical and praxeological exchange looked like, and how it was put into practice in a multi-cultural working environment. It will thus examine how the globally conceived but locally situated new spatialisation and field-based redrawing of the portable knowledge of the experts reshaped the local, transnational and global epistemic context and the (new) transnational space of globalised expertise.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2021
EventEmpirical Globalisation Research. Professions, medical practices, and traveling knowledge - Institute of Sociology/INEAST, Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Duration: 25 Mar 202126 Mar 2021


ConferenceEmpirical Globalisation Research. Professions, medical practices, and traveling knowledge


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