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Geographical imaginations, public education and the everyday worlds of Fascist Italy

Atkinson, David



This article explores the phenomena of geographical imaginations and their seldom-noted promotion within various corners of Fascist Italy. Imagined geographies are socially constructed understandings of other places and regions and, as such, they are malleable, contingent, shifting and unquantifiable. Nevertheless, these imaginaries help us to navigate our imaginative worlds and our relative place in the material world. In 1930s Italy, various interest groups associated with the colonial and expansionist projects of Fascism promoted the development of wider geographical imaginaries among Italians. Academic geographers were often key figures in these initiatives: some prompted these projects, while others did so at the behest of the regime and its desire to expand Italians' coscienza geografica (the geographical imagination) to an ‘imperial level'. This article explores how academic geographers from Trieste sought to contribute to this project and to embed their geographical knowledge into the ordinary, everyday circuits of public life. The article therefore outlines the notion of the geographical imagination and demonstrates via case studies how Triestine geographers tried to nurture these phenomena. Finally, it suggests that, although elusive and amorphous, geographical imaginations were a feature of everyday life in some corners of Fascist Italy and, as such, they deserve academic attention.


Atkinson, D. (2013). Geographical imaginations, public education and the everyday worlds of Fascist Italy. Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 18(5), 561-579.

Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2013
Online Publication Date Nov 18, 2013
Publication Date 2013-12
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Publicly Available Date Nov 13, 2014
Journal Journal of modern Italian studies
Print ISSN 1354-571X
Electronic ISSN 1469-9583
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 5
Pages 561-579
Keywords REF 2014 submission; Geographical imaginations; Geography; Fascism; Public education; Trieste; Geopolitics
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of modern Italian studies on 18th November 2013, available online:


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