Topographies of power: a critical historical geography of schooling in Tanzania

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This article builds a case for critical historical geography in comparative education to examine how, over time, the social production of space contributes to educational disparity. It draws on Gupta and Ferguson's contrasting concepts of the ‘power of topography’ and the ‘topography of power’ and Lefebvre's tripartite theory of space to explore space–time relationships at multiple scales in Tanzania. Data come from primary and secondary historical texts about the Kilimanjaro Region as well as a longitudinal study carried out between 2000 and 2012 in two districts in the region. The analysis shows how advantage and disadvantage are differentially distributed over time and space, revealing the enduring interconnections of geography, history, and political power in postcolonial states and the importance of multi-scalar comparative research in comparative education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-156
Number of pages21
JournalComparative Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Taylor & Francis.


  • Chagga
  • Geography of education
  • Kilimanjaro
  • Tanzania
  • critical history
  • spatial theory


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