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Italy's SeaEmpire and Nation in the Mediterranean, 1895-1945$
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Valerie McGuire

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781800348004

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781800348004.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 09 December 2021

Introduction: Europe’s Southern Question

Introduction: Europe’s Southern Question

(p.1) Introduction: Europe’s Southern Question
Italy's Sea

Valerie McGuire

Liverpool University Press

Since the turn of the 21st century, the narrative that Italy never had a significant colonial empire—or that when it did during the late 1930s, it was ‘soft’ or ‘goodhearted’ in comparison to the forged by its Nazi allies—has been significantly challenged by historians and in critical studies of modern Italy. However, what is often underestimated in these studies is the way that empire was intimately linked to the project of the nation-state itself and the ways in which Italian national identity has frequently drawn upon the image of the Mediterranean Sea to efface the fragmentary nature and precarity of its national unity. In comparison with the Southern Question, what has been the dominant paradigm for studying the Italian nation-state—including its recent uneasy reception of immigrants—examining modern Italy from the de-centred perspective of its colonial empire in the Mediterranean, provides a richer understanding of how Italian culture has strived to imagine itself as cosmopolitan and as a participant in European modernity. While this book is largely a case study of the culture and politics of Italy’s colonial mandate in the Aegean, it also offers a critical revaluation of how the project of colonial modernity has impacted Europe’s Southern frontier.

Keywords:   Italy, Empire, Aegean, Dodecanese, Mediterranean, Modernity, Migration, Colonialism, Postcolonialism

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