MEDITERRANEITÀ Desired and Realised: The Imposition of the Fascist Aesthetic Ideology of Mediterranean-ness Overseas from 1935 to 1940
In the 1920s, fascist ideologues promised Italians a prosperous global empire, one which would expand to include lands of the former Roman Empire and beyond. Imperial expansionism was not only geo-political, but also cultural. In order to justify this cultural expansion into former Roman lands in the Mediterranean basin such as North Africa, the concept of mediterraneità was employed as a propaganda tool. Later it was applied to regions beyond the basin, such as East Africa and South America, but its logic became increasingly convoluted along the way. In East Africa, it was mainly used as a means of ‘civilising’ the backwardness of indigenous people. In parts of South America, which had been populated with large Italian expatriate communities for decades, terms such as Roman-ness and Latin-ness were implemented to convince these communities and peoples of Iberian descent that they shared a common Latin culture. Indigenous people and those of African decent were conveniently ignored in the equation. In the case of Africa, the colonies became realised, while in South America, they became desired. After first setting the historical context (early 1920s – mid-1930s), this essay illustrates how the overall strategy of mediterraneità was implemented as part of both hard and soft rhetorical arguments aimed at realised and desired colonies, respectively from 1935 – 1940. It also addresses how these arguments were received by natives of these colonised lands. Were they assimilated, appropriated, or rejected?
This book chapter was completed while I was worked for MMU.
Citation : Epolito, G. (2015). MEDITERRANEITÀ Desired and Realised: The Imposition of the Fascist Aesthetic Ideology of Mediterranean-ness Overseas from 1935 to 1940. In: Joana Cunha Leal, Maria Helena Maia and Begoña Farré Torras (eds.) Southern Modernisms: from A to Z and back again. Oporto: IHA/FCSH-UNL, CEAA/ESAP-CESAP, pp. 79-98.
ISBN : 9789728784669
Peer Reviewed : No