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Mediterraneanism: French And Italian Architects' Designs In 1930s North African Cities

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Chapter Summary

This essay describes how French and Italian architects in 1930s Algeria and Libya justified incorporating ornamental and structural aspects of North African architecture into their designs-ostensibly borrowing from &t;inferior&t; colonized populations-by attributing &t;Mediter-ranean-ness&t; to these design elements, thus casting their architectural appropriations as a mere continuation of a long history of shared traditions in a common geographical environment. It then discusses the broader historical and political context within which architects made this discursive turn, namely French and Italian national sentiments and policies vis-a-vis the Mediterranean Basin and its territories. It concludes with some considerations of how understanding &t;Mediterraneanism&t; as a European invention stemming directly from the colonial experience broadens our understanding of Euro-centric analyses of the city in the Islamic world.

Keywords: 1930s; French; Italian architects; Mediterraneanism; North African



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