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Description, appropriation, transformation: Fascist rhetoric and colonial nature

Polezzi, Loredana 2014. Description, appropriation, transformation: Fascist rhetoric and colonial nature. Modern Italy 19 (3) , pp. 287-303. 10.1080/13532944.2014.927355

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During the period of Fascism, a variety of discourses and representations were attached to colonial landscapes and to their uses. African nature was the subject of diverse rhetorical strategies, which ranged from the persistence of visions of wilderness as the locus of adventure to the domesticating manipulations of an incipient tourist industry aiming to familiarise the Italian public with relatively tame forms of the exotic. Contrasting images of bareness and productivity, primitivism and modernisation, resistance to change and dramatic transformation found their way into accounts of colonial territories ranging from scientific and pseudo-scientific reports to children's literature, from guidebooks to travel accounts, all of which were sustained not just by written texts but also by iconographic representations. This article will look at the specific example of accounts of Italian Somalia in order to explore Fascist discourses regarding colonial nature and its appropriation. Documents examined will include early guidebooks to the colonies, a small selection of travel accounts aimed at the general public, as well as the works of a number of geographers and geologists who were among the most active polygraphs of the period, and whose writings addressed a wide range of Italian readers.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP)
ISSN: 1353-2944
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2020 15:00

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