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The rhetoric of nostalgia: postcolonial Alexandria between uncanny memories and global geographies

[journal article]

Dora, Veronica Della

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Abstract Memory, nostalgia and place are subjects of increasing scholarly interest. While invoked by cultural geographers as a ‘productive force’ moulding urban landscape, nostalgia often remains an unexamined, a priori concept. Through the exploration of different reactions to the spatialized history of postcolonial Alexandria, I consider nostalgia as a fluid, multifaceted, and performative force operating at different scales and levels: on one hand, an unconscious phenomenon in the years following Egyptian nationalization, intertwining with the uncanny and bringing to surface ‘unwanted’ memories; on the other, a powerful device increasingly exploited by urban developers and the state for the construction of a ‘cosmopolitan memory’. While the former kind of nostalgia presents itself as an effective counterpart to the colonial ‘cartographic gaze’, the latter responds to the logics of cultural consumption, and constitutes a strategy adopted in an increasing number of former cosmopolitan cities seeking to negotiate a position within the global capitalist economy.
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
Page/Pages p. 207-238
Journal Cultural Geographies, 13 (2006) 2
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)