Engaging Southern, Eastern and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and geographies: time mapping in doctoral education

Year: 2018

Author: Manathunga, Catherine, Qi, Jing, Bunda, Tracey, Singh, Michael

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In order to develop innovative, transcultural supervision pedagogies that privilege Southern, Eastern and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander epistemologies, supervisors and students need to locate time, place and diverse cultural knowleges at the centre of their work together.  This involves the careful and sensitive navigation of contested notions of history, geography and epistemology.  In this paper, we will outline a range of Southern, postcolonial, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, feminist, social and cultural geography theories about time, place and knowledge to interrogate transcultural approaches to supervision pedagogy.  These Southern theories suggest ways in which culturally diverse students can incorporate their rich personal, cultural, geographical, linguistic and epistemological histories into their creation of new knowledge. However, translating these theories into workable supervision strategies is challenging. Therefore, my colleagues and I have been experimenting with an innovative methodology to critically reflect upon the macro and micro histories of students and supervisors working across and between cultures. This time mapping methodology draws upon the work of Zerubavel.  Zerubavel’s ‘time-maps’ seek to trace collective historical memories of both individuals and cultural groups. Time maps allow us to depict the ebbs, flows, ruptures and varied intensity of historical narratives.
In this paper, we will outline the innovative methodology of time mapping that seeks to create space for Southern, Eastern and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, geographies and knowledge systems in doctoral education. We will present the preliminary findings from a pilot study where we collected time maps from candidates and supervisors working across cultures. We argue that time mapping is a powerful methodology that visually depicts the interweaving of micro personal biographies and genealogies and macro cultural and social histories. This approach locates candidates and supervisors in place and space, prioritising geography and Country as more than a backdrop for human experience. It also engages the creative energies of candidates and supervisors, slowing down fast doctoral time to enable experiences of creative, playful, suspended time (Lapping, 2017).