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Visuality, Hybridity, and Colonialism: Imagining Ethiopia Through Colonial Aviation, 1935-1940

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This article examines the discursive construction of visual imaginations of Italian East Africa through visual and textual materials associated with fascist colonial civil aviation from 1934 through 1940. Analysis of materials produced by Ala Littoria, the fascist regime's main airline, reveals discursive strands and themes that contributed to the deeply modern depiction of Ethiopia, Italian Somaliland, and Eritrea (the constituent colonies within Italian East Africa) as “natural” landscapes that could be accessed, consumed, and dominated through the air, and in particular through aviation technology and the institution of a colonial civil aviation network in East Africa. Aviation was as a hybrid technology that contributed to the discursive, and therefore material, imaginative construction of Italian East Africa through aviation's material and technological basis as well as its visual representation.

Keywords: East Africa; Italy; aviation; geographical imaginations; hybridity

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth,

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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