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Hitler’s Geographies

The Spatialities of the Third Reich

Lebensraum: the entitlement of “legitimate” Germans to living space. Entfernung: the expulsion of “undesirables” to create empty space for German resettlement. During his thirteen years leading Germany, Hitler developed and made use of a number of powerful geostrategical concepts such as these in order to justify his imperialist expansion, exploitation, and genocide. As his twisted manifestation of spatial theory grew in Nazi ideology, it created a new and violent relationship between people and space in Germany and beyond.
With Hitler’s Geographies, editors Paolo Giaccaria and Claudio Minca examine the variety of ways in which spatial theory evolved and was translated into real-world action under the Third Reich. They have gathered an outstanding collection by leading scholars, presenting key concepts and figures as well exploring the undeniable link between biopolitical power and spatial expansion and exclusion.

376 pages | 15 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2016

Geography: Cultural and Historical Geography, Social and Political Geography

History: European History


"In its search for the spatial-geographical foundations of a years-long, highly influential, regionally based project (Nazism), Hitler's Geographies demonstrates the value of looking broadly and deeply at the geographical ideas and assumptions undergirding world-changing developments in particular times and places. The results of such efforts could be of enormous benefit to historical and geographical understanding alike."

Journal of Historical Geography

"Hitler's Geographies offers a[n]... ambitious project: a preliminary attempt 'to start formulating a tentative spatial theory of the Third Reich' through a collection of essays that 'directly engag[e] with the specific relationship between spatial theory, Nazi ideology and its geopolitical and genocidal practices" (2-3)... It is a useful contribution to the field that whets the appetite for a more thorough and comprehensive effort to develop a spatial theory of the Third Reich."

Jason Hansen, Furman University | Journal of Modern History

“That the Nazi regime was an expansionist project has been well appreciated since the 1930s, but its protean spatial imaginings and practices have been neither satisfactorily conceptualized nor interrelated until now. Hitler's Geographies is a landmark collection that undertakes the challenging theoretical and empirical labor of reconstructing the spatialities of the Third Reich. It will be required reading for understanding the intersections of geopolitics, imperial ambitions, and settlement fantasies with the topographies of racialized screening, ghettoization, and mass murder.”

A. Dirk Moses, European University Institute, Florence

“Giaccaria and Minca have been in the vanguard of the intellectual project of integrated geohistory focusing on cultural issues for many years. With Hitler’s Geographies, they offer the first edited volume attempting to mark out this compelling theoretical territory in relation to a major twentieth-century phenomenon: Nazism. This book is an excellent conceptual collection for understanding and applying the notions of Lebensraum, geopolitics, biopolitics, and central place theory. It also provides valuable examples of key concepts from cultural geography, including the nuances of space versus place, cultural landscapes and their emotional burdens and legacies, and emotional distance and proximity in cinema. The theoretical and historiographical contributions of Hitler’s Geographies will be of great interest to scholars of the Third Reich, national socialism, the Holocaust, spatial theory, cultural theory, and various branches of geography.”

Anne Kelly Knowles, University of Maine

“In reworking theoretical and historical agendas about Nazism’s mobilizations of knowledge, nature, place, Hitler’s Geographies offers an important contribution to understanding the Third Reich for anyone concerned with culture, domination, environment, or memory.”

James D. Sidaway, National University of Singapore

“With Hitler’s Geographies, Giaccaria and Minca aim to highlight Nazism as a spatial project—one whose racial politics required thinking about space in a particular way and putting these ideas into practice. The editors do an excellent job of laying out this rationale. In particular, this book connects with and builds upon contemporary social theories that are prevalent in geography and other social sciences, making it a pertinent and intriguing utilization of social theory to address a key historic topic. A bold endeavor, Hitler’s Geographies will soon be the go-to volume for those interested in the spatiality of the biopolitics of Nazism.”

Colin Flint, Utah State University

"Hitler’s Geographies: The Spatialities of the Third Reich is a well planned, meticulously executed work that examines the Nazi mapping enterprise through a new level of interdisciplinary rigor."

Cartographic Perspectives

Table of Contents

Introduction: Hitler’s Geographies, Nazi Spatialities: An Introduction
Paolo Giaccaria and Claudio Minca
Spatial Cultural Histories of Hitlerism
1. For a Tentative Spatial Theory of the Third Reich
Paolo Giaccaria and Claudio Minca
2. Holocaust Spaces
Dan Stone
Part II Third Reich Geographies
Section 1 Biopolitics, Geopolitics, and Lebensraum
3. In Service of Empire: Geographers at Berlin’s University between Colonial Studies and Ostforschung (Eastern Research)
Jürgen Zimmerer
4. The East as Historical Imagination and the Germanization Policies of the Third Reich
Gerhard Wolf
5. Race contra Space: The Conflict between German Geopolitik and National Socialism
Mark Bassin
6. Back Breeding the Aurochs: The Heck Brothers, National Socialism, and Imagined Geographies for Non-Human Lebensraum
Clemens Driessen and Jamie Lorimer
Section 2 Spatial Planning and Geography in the Third Reich
7. National Socialism and the Politics of Calculation
Stuart Elden
8. Applied Geography and Area Research in Nazi Society: Central Place Theory and Planning, 1933 to 1945
Mechtild Rössler
9. A Morality Tale of Two Location Theorists in Hitler’s Germany: Walter Christaller and August Lösch
Trevor J. Barnes
10. Social Engineering, National Demography, and Political Economy in Nazi Germany: Gottfried Feder and His New Town Concept
Joshua Hagen
Part II Geographies of the Third Reich
Section 3 Spatialities of the Holocaust

11. Nazi Biopolitics and the Dark Geographies of the Selva
Paolo Giaccaria and Claudio Minca
12. Geographies of Ghettoization: Absences, Presences, and Boundaries
Tim Cole
13. Spaces of Engagement and the Geographies of Obligation: Responses to the Holocaust
Michael Fleming
14. Hello Darkness: Envoi and Caveat
Andrew Charlesworth
Section 4 Microgeographies of Memory, Witnessing, and Representation
15. The Interruption of Witnessing: Relations of Distance and Proximity in Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah
Richard Carter-White
16. A Mobile Holocaust? Rethinking Testimony with Cultural Geography
Simone Gigliotti
17. What Remains? Sites of Deportation in Contemporary European Daily Life: The Case of Drancy  
Katherine Fleming
Contributor Biographies

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