Italian Empire and the Dodecanese

Episode 476

The Dodecanese Islands in the Southeastern Aegean Sea are part of Greece today, and for centuries, they were controlled by the Ottoman Empire. But for a brief period, Italy governed the Dodecanese as part of its empire under the Fascist government of Mussolini. In this podcast, we talk to historian Valerie McGuire about the history of Italian Empire and the ignored importance of the Dodecanese Islands within the study of colonialism writ large. We explore how the islands changed under Italian rule and the creation of a special nationality known as Italian Aegean Citizenship. We also discuss the legacy of the islands beyond the amnesia and nostalgia concerning Italy's imperial impact on the Mediterranean region.

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Contributor Bios

Valerie McGuire is a Lecturer of Italian and Comparative Literature at the University of St Andrews (Scotland). Her research investigates colonialism, postcolonialism and Mediterraneanism in Italian history and culture. She received her PhD from New York University and is the author of Italy's Sea: Empire and Nation in the Mediterranean, 1894-1945 (Liverpool University Press, 2020).
Chris Gratien is Assistant Professor of History at University of Virginia, where he teaches classes on global environmental history and the Middle East. He is currently preparing a monograph about the environmental history of the Cilicia region of the former Ottoman Empire from the 1850s until the 1950s.

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Sound production by Chris Gratien
Additional credits to Sam Dolbee and Reem Bailony
Bibliography and images courtesy of Valerie McGuire


Greek woman in traditional dress encounters Italian tourist in the island of Rhodes, ca 1930. Promotional photo for the Italian imperial administration of the island ã Touring Club Italiano. Source: Photographic archive of the Italian administration of the Aegean islands, Touring Club Italiano
Italians and Greeks join hands and dance together in Rhodes during a harvest festival organized by the Fascist administration of the island, ca 1930. Promotional photo for the Italian imperial administration of the island. Source: Photographic archive of the Italian administration of the Aegean islands, Touring Club Italiano


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