Mapping (metaphorical) journeys in and against the academy

Mel M. Engman*, Johanna Ennser-Kananen, Jenna Cushing-Leubner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Building on previous work that examines the role of the academic in producing ‘critical research’ for the academy, this chapter explores the use of hand-drawn ‘maps’ as a postdigital exercise in naming and spatialising researcher positionality. We begin by briefly exploring the nature of academic work and how our participation in it orients us to the technologies of empire (and possibilities for resistance to it). We then attend to how metaphors of ‘orientation’ shape conceptions of labour – metaphors such as navigating academic terrain, being on the tenure track, and progressing along career paths. Next, we describe various exercises we undertook using hand-drawn maps to understand various experiences in the academy (i.e., metaphorical terrain) and we discuss the ways in which these activities shifted our orientations to forms of inquiry, collaboration, and representation. This chapter contributes to current discussions of postdigital research by providing further evidence against uncritical digital determinism and an analog/digital binary. Rather, we highlight how the use of seemingly unchanged analog tools can allow for postdigital sense-making, acknowledging the ways in which our sense-making and subjectivities can be understood as postdigital assemblages in relation with the social and material world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConstructing postdigital research: method and emancipation
EditorsPetar Jandrić, Alison MacKenzie, Jeremy Knox
ISBN (Electronic)9783031354113
ISBN (Print)9783031354137
Publication statusPublished - 02 Aug 2023

Publication series

NamePostdigital Science and Education
ISSN (Print)2662-5326
ISSN (Electronic)2662-5334


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