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Counter-mapping the archive: A decolonial feminist research method

Finden, Alice Ella



The past decade has seen a growing interest in the ‘turn to history’ which has coincided with a counter-reading of the archive as a means to trouble contemporary practices of governance. In this article, I explore what a decolonial feminist approach to the colonial archive can look like through the development of a research method that involves counter-mapping. This method included the use of participatory interviews, carried out between 2019-2020, that involved asking interviewees to annotate colonial maps of Cairo, and the co-creation of an alternative map. This method presented a decolonial space where I, the researcher, and the participants, co-investigated the spatial securitisation of urban sites as ‘security threats’ and ‘dangerous communities’. In doing so, we co-examined how certain security ‘truths’ constructed by the colonial archive transcend the colonial/modern continuum in new postcolonial forms of securitisation in Egypt. Securitised spaces on the map were, instead, reimagined as spaces of emancipation and life. At the same time, the gendered differences between participants also point to the coloniality of gender in Egypt. In light of this, I thereby also discuss the troubles of representative methods, and the need for an intersectional feminist approach to decolonial research methods.


Finden, A. E. (2023). Counter-mapping the archive: A decolonial feminist research method. Cambridge Review of International Affairs,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 18, 2023
Online Publication Date Dec 3, 2023
Publication Date Dec 3, 2023
Deposit Date Sep 20, 2023
Publicly Available Date Dec 5, 2023
Journal Cambridge Review of International Affairs
Print ISSN 0955-7571
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL


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