Architecture and Tourism in Italian Colonial Libya
An Ambivalent Modernism
McLaren argues that the "modern" and the "traditional" were entirely constructed by colonial authorities, who balanced their need to project an image of a modern and efficient network of travel and accommodation with the necessity of preserving the characteristic qualities of the indigenous culture. What made the tourist experience in Libya distinct from that of other tourist destinations was the constant oscillation between modernizing and preservation tendencies. The movement between these forces is reflected in the structure of the book, which proceeds from the broadest level of inquiry into the Fascist colonial project in Libya to the tourist organization itself, and finally into the architecture of the tourist environment, offering a way of viewing state-driven modernization projects and notions of modernity from a historical and geographic perspective.
This is an important book for architectural historians and for those interested in colonial and postcolonial studies, as well as Italian studies, African history, literature, and cultural studies more generally.
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"Architecture and Tourism in Italian Colonial Libya confronts us with a rich and fascinating story on the indeterminate relation between architecture and tourism in colonial Libya. The outstanding text is larded with an intriguing selection of images that stem from popular literature, tourist ephemera ranging from guidebooks to brochures and postcards, as well as architectural archives. The result is captivating."—Journal of Design History
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