Spatial Imaginaries

Spatial imaginaries – such as ‘the West,’ ‘Eurasia,’ and ‘the Global South’ – take the form of textual, visual or performative representations. They matter because they reduce complexity and shape identities. They do so by homogenising space. They evoke an ‘imagined community’ (Benedict Anderson), and form part of processes of inclusion and exclusion – determining who is part of this community, and who is not. Spatial imaginaries evoke a sense of belonging and gain traction in response to political challenges: crises, conflicts, and wars. In public discourse, however, geography is typically presented as factual and apolitical, a timeless backdrop to the unfolding of history. All too often spatial imaginaries are taken for granted, their assumptions and intentions left unquestioned.209 Against this background, scholars have aimed to explore the shifting meanings, political uses, and transnational circulations of spatial imaginaries, through various scales, and across time and space.210

An early source of inspiration in this area stems from the term ‘cognitive map.’ This concept was first introduced in the late 1940s by the American cognitive psychologist Edward C. Tolman. ‘Cognitive maps’ comprise individual or collective representations of spatial understandings of our environment. As such, they help humans to orient and situate themselves within the world. From the 1960s, the term began to enter other disciplines, including geography and urban planning. Today, scholars make use of a number of approaches and terms. These include ‘mental maps,’ ‘spatial semantics,’ or ‘imaginative geographies.’211

In his book Orientalism (1978), literary scholar Edward Said analysed ‘imaginative geographies’ of the Orient against the historical backdrop of nineteenth century European expansion and colonisation. It focused particularly on textual tropes and spatial rhetoric, such as the ‘primitive Arab’ or the ‘lazy Oriental,’ as they manifested in travelogues, novels, and geographical writings. Said’s sources ranged from the Welsh scholar William Jones to French writers like Gustave Flaubert and learned societies such as the British ‘Royal Asiatic Society’ (founded in 1823). According to Said, the ‘othering’ of the Orient created a space of imagination and, crucially, served to facilitate ‘Western’ imperial and cultural domination. Western representations flattened and homogenised the Orient as ‘the other’ vis-à-vis the Occident. The Orient became a static, ahistorical, effeminate, passive space, and a region that was lagging behind ‘the West.’212

Said’s postcolonial reading and critique of ‘Western’ texts about the Orient has sparked controversy and debate. Scholars have critiqued his homogenous treatment not only of the Orient but of the Occident. Indeed, Said mainly analysed British and French voices, thereby homogenising ‘the West’ or equating it with British and French imperialism.213 Nonetheless, Orientalism continues to be a rich source of inspiration and a reference point for scholars working in the field of spatial imaginaries.214 From the perspective of spatial history, Said’s principal legacy is the idea that spatial concepts are not neutral geographical signifiers; that they carry value-laden assumptions which need to be interrogated; and that they have political effects that need be to be examined. In the past, spatial imaginaries often conveyed meanings of temporalized space, or ‘timespace’: ‘beyond Europe’ meant ‘before Europe’; ‘moving westward’ meant ‘moving forward.’215 Spatial imaginaries established hierarchies and created dichotomies along core versus periphery, backward versus modern, civilised versus uncivilised.

The field of spatial imaginaries is vast, and it overlaps with other fields. These comprise the history of travel, borders, geopolitics and cartography, urban history, literary and media studies, and intellectual history.216 More recently, attempts have been made to address the relative absence of women as historical actors from the history of spatial imaginaries.217 In practice, scholars employ an array of textual sources including travelogues, geographical descriptions, newspapers, and novels, as well as visual sources such as maps, landscape paintings, and photographs.218 Scholars analyse the construction and meaning of spatial imaginaries on different scales. These include macro-regions, borderlands, and nation-states, as well as smaller units such as sites and cities.

At the global scale, Martin W. Lewis and Kären Wigen have critiqued classification systems centring on continental or macro-regional concepts such as ‘Orient’ and ‘Occident,’ ‘East’ and ‘West,’ ‘Europe’ and ‘Asia.’ They make a case for critically engaging with such ‘metageographies,’ which have often served to conflate, manipulate and flatten complex social, political, economic, and cultural realities. For example, they dismiss the idea of the ‘Third World’ as an ‘unduly monolithic’ political-economic category of the Cold War. Until the concept became redundant when the ‘Second World,’ i.e. the sphere of Soviet communism, transformed after 1989, ‘it served the ideological needs of both Cold War American partisans and, on the opposite side of the political spectrum, the most vigorous opponents of American neo-imperialism.’219

Indeed, it is important to realize that the concept of the ‘Third World’ also encapsulated a sense of self-assertion on the part of some so-called ‘developing countries.’ In 1955, the leaders of many such countries gathered in Bandung to explicitly position themselves against the bipolar order of the Cold War. In doing so, they drew on the concept of the ‘Third World,’ which would later morph into the ‘Global South.’220 Other spatial imaginaries such as the concept of ‘one world’ became popular during the Cold War too, thanks to anti-Vietnam War protests, an emergent ‘North-South dialogue,’ growing environmentalism and global interdependence, as well as Apollo photographs of ‘spaceship earth.’221

From the 1990s, scholars have increasingly engaged with spatial imaginaries of a range of macro-regions. Mark Bassin and Marlene Laruelle, for example, have investigated the renaissance of post-WWI visions of Eurasianism that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, and which placed Russia at the core of a civilizational container space defined as anti-liberal and anti-‘Western.’222 Jürgen Osterhammel, in his recently translated Unfabling the East (1998), has shown how in Europe, between the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, the idea of Asia became embedded in an ‘exclusive’-Eurocentric, racialized discourse. Asia – and particularly China – came to be regarded as a lesser, declining or stagnant civilisation, a space to be exploited and colonised.223

The idea of ‘Eastern Europe,’ too, has been claimed to have emerged during the late eighteenth century – this critical transition period that the German historian of concepts Reinhart Koselleck has called Sattelzeit (‘saddle time’).224 This at least has been argued by Larry Wolff in his much-discussed, and in part disputed, study Inventing Eastern Europe (1994). Along with the rising concept of ‘civilisation,’ travellers (real and armchair) as well as cartographers began to refer to ‘Eastern Europe’ as an inner-European negative imaginary. Its counterpart was a self-imagined progressive, enlightened ‘Western Europe.’225 Around the same time, new imaginaries of a North-South fault line evolved on the Italian peninsula, as literary scholar Nelson Moe has shown in The View from Vesuvius, which poses the question: ‘How and when did southern Italy become “the south,” a place and people imagined to be different from and inferior to the rest of the country?’ Drawing on both textual and visual sources, Moe traces the origins of this imaginary to foreign writers travelling to Italy, who started to frame what they saw both in terms of backwardness and the ‘picturesque.’ This was then taken up by northern-based proponents of Italian unification (Risorgimento), often poets-cum-politicians, but later also critiqued by a poet like Verga in ‘antipicturesque’ descriptions of his native Sicily, where ‘the South’ served as a ‘powerful emblem of the failings of national unification.’226

The ‘use of concepts of place to naturalize uneven structures of rule’ is the subject of Kate McDonald’s recent study Placing Empire: Travel and the Social Imagination in Imperial Japan (2017). What she terms ‘spatial politics of empire’ concerns early-twentieth-century practices of Japanese colonisation, from Taiwan to the Korean peninsula, and the ways in which travel and tourism were deployed to integrate colonial territories in the imagined realm of the empire, while at the same time distinguishing ‘outer territories’ from an ‘inner territory.’ This ‘geography of cultural pluralism’ was mirrored by restricted mobility and racial discrimination of colonial subjects. This became particularly apparent in the wake of the First World War, when the Japanese Empire was ‘moving from treating colonial difference as a matter of time and development to treating colonial difference as a matter of race and place.’227

Spatial imaginaries have also been investigated for ‘in-between regions’ where territorial borders have shifted dramatically over time. East Central Europe has proven particularly fertile in this respect.228 Ryan Gingeras draws on the example of Ottoman Macedonia to argue that, in British discourses of the early twentieth century, it oscillated between a peripheral European and a ‘Near Eastern’ position, thus falling ‘between the cracks.’229 At smaller scales, particularly at a local and urban level, the concept of ‘mental maps’ has also been applied to internalised ideas about cityscapes, infrastructure choices, commuting patterns, and tourist routes.230

Imagining the Balkans

Maria Todorova’s Imagining the Balkans (1997) is a classic in the field.231 The book is distinguished by three key features. First, it offers an impressive variety of sources, including travelogues, media and political commentary, from different contexts: French, English, German, Russian, but also closer to and from within the region itself, including Bulgarian, Greek, and Serbo-Croatian. Second, the work traces the long-term evolution of ‘Balkanism.’ As Todorova shows, the meaning of this term has changed repeatedly since the early modern period. Third, Imagining the Balkans demonstrates that imaginary geographies associated with ‘Balkanism’ were not only externally driven discourses, but that they were, ultimately, internalised within the region itself.

The historical and historiographical moment of the book’s publication is highly relevant here, as is the personal and professional trajectory of the author. Maria Todorova was born in Sofia in 1949. She held academic positions in Bulgaria, before pursuing a career in the US. Imagining the Balkans was published at a moment of crisis in the aftermath of the Cold War, the end of state-socialism, and the violent breakup of former Yugoslavia. The book’s publication in 1997 reflects a moment when ideological dichotomies and mental maps such as ‘East’ and ‘West’ transformed into new hierarchies along spatial lines.

It is not difficult to spot the inspiration of Said’s Orientalism in Todorova’s analysis of the historical origins, trajectories, and legacies of ‘Balkanism.’ However, and in contrast to Said’s static notion of the ‘Orient,’ ‘Balkanism’ is a constantly shifting geographical category. While writing her book in the 1990s, the discourse on ‘Balkanism’ as a cipher for chaos, instability, ethnic nationalism, and violence gained new traction due to the breakup of former Yugoslavia. That said, the roots of ‘the Balkans’ as Europe’s ‘other within’ can be traced back to the late nineteenth century.

Todorova takes her cue from Koselleck’s history of concepts. Her book traces the origins, uses, and meanings of the term ‘the Balkans’ back to the early modern period. Until the eighteenth century, ‘the Balkans’ served as a signifier of one particular geographical region of the Ottoman Empire. Initially, the term was hardly ever used in non-Ottoman sources.232 As a geographical term, ‘Balkans’ only became more widely known outside the region through intensified travel encounters during the nineteenth century. Yet, as Todorova argues, the meaning of the term remained spatially opaque and fairly ‘neutral’ as a literal translation of Ottoman and Byzantine denominations for the region.233

It was only from the late nineteenth century that ‘the Balkans’ became more frequently used in intellectual and political circles beyond the Ottoman Empire. This was a historical moment defined by Serbian, Bulgarian, and Romanian independence, and by the 1878 Congress of Berlin. As a geographical concept, ‘Balkan Peninsula’ or simply ‘Balkans’ soon replaced a myriad of other geographical concepts. These included ‘European Turkey,’ ‘European Ottoman Empire,’ and ‘European Levant.’234

In 1903, King Alexander of Serbia and his wife were murdered in Belgrade. Journalistic commentators subsequently intensified a discourse of ‘the Balkans’ as the inner-European ‘other.’ This process was exacerbated by the two Balkan Wars of 1912-13 and the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914, which tipped the region (and soon thereafter the rest of Europe) into war and violence. Western European thinkers, intellectuals, and politicians cultivated the idea of a civilising and imperialist mission based on law, order, cleanliness and other self-attributes. ‘The Balkans’ became the polar opposite. It was increasingly conceptualised as a region associated with ‘cruelty, boorishness, instability, and unpredictability,’ as well as with disorderly territorial fragmentation.235

Despite some criticism it received for errors and omissions, what sets Todorova’s work apart is her close attention to events and developments within the region itself. In contrast to the spatially amorphous ‘Orient,’ ‘the Balkans’ emerge as a concrete place.236

  1. See, for instance, the popular book by Tim Marshall, Prisoners of Geography, New York: Scribner, 2015.↩︎

  2. For a useful overview see Josh Watkins, ‘Spatial Imaginaries Research in Geography: Synergies, Tensions, and New Directions,’ Geography Compass 9/9, 2015, 508-22. Derek Gregory, Geographical Imaginations, Oxford: Blackwell, 1994, is often cited in this context, but it deals less with ‘spatial imaginaries’ than with theoretical imaginations of geographers and methodological approaches to geography.↩︎

  3. On ‘cognitive’ and ‘mental maps,’ see Frithjof Benjamin Schenk, ‘Mental Maps: The Cognitive Mapping of the Continent as an Object of Research of European History,’ European History Online, 2013. Available HTTP: <> (accessed 10 March 2021); for a definition of ‘mental maps’ from a psychological perspective, see Roger M. Downs and David Stea, Maps in Minds, New York: Harper & Row, 1977, p. 23; Elspeth Graham, ‘What Is a Mental Map?’ Area 8, 1976, 259-62; see also Peter Gould and Rodney White, Mental Maps, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974; Lawrence A. Hirschfeld and Susan A. Gelman (eds.), Mapping the Mind: Domain Specificity in Cognition and Culture, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994; Juval Portugali (ed.), The Construction of Cognitive Maps, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1996.↩︎

  4. Edward W. Said, Orientalism, with a new preface, London: Penguin 2003, with a new afterword 1995, first published 1978; see also Derek Gregory, ‘Imaginative Geographies,’ Progress in Human Geography 19, 1995, 447-85; id., ‘Between the Book and the Lamp: Imaginative Geographies of Egypt, 1849-50,’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 20, 1995, 29-56.↩︎

  5. James Clifford, ‘Orientalism,’ History and Theory 19, 1980, 204-23; Gyan Prakash, ‘Orientalism Now,’ History and Theory 34, 1995, 199-212; Pedro A. Piedras Monroy, ‘Edward Said and German Orientalism,’ Storia della Storiografia 44, 2003, 96-103; for a critical engagement with Said see also Robert Irwin, For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies, London: Penguin, 2007; Urs App, The Birth of Orientalism, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010.↩︎

  6. See, for instance, Thierry Hentsch, Imagining the Middle East, New York: Black Rose Books, 1992; Suzanne L. Marchand, German Orientalism in the Age of Empire: Religion, Race, and Scholarship, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009; Timothy Mitchell, Colonising Egypt, rev. ed. with new preface, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991, first published 1988; Elisabeth Oxfeldt, Nordic Orientalism: Paris and the Cosmopolitan Imagination 1800-1900, Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2005; Barbara Spackman, Accidental Orientalists: Modern Italian Travelers in Ottoman Lands, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2017; Stefan Tanaka, Japan’s Orient: Rendering Pasts into History, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993; Vera Tolz, Russia’s Own Orient: The Politics of Identity and Oriental Studies in the Late Imperial and Early Soviet Periods, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011; see also Mark Bassin, Imperial Visions: Nationalist Imagination and Geographical Expansion in the Russian Far East, 1840-1865, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.↩︎

  7. Jon May and Nigel Thrift (eds.), TimeSpace: Geographies of Temporality, London and New York: Routledge, 2001; Barney Warf and Santa Arias, ‘Introduction: The Reinsertion of Space Into the Social Sciences and Humanities,’ in id. (eds.), The Spatial Turn: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, London and New York: Routledge, 2009, pp. 1-10, here p. 3; Riccardo Bavaj, ‘“The West”: A Conceptual Exploration,’ European History Online, 2011. Available HTTP: <> (accessed 31 March 2021). On the idea of ‘the West’ see Cemil Aydin, The Politics of Anti-Westernism in Asia: Visions of World Order in Pan-Islamic and Pan-Asian Thought, New York: Columbia University Press, 2007; Riccardo Bavaj and Martina Steber (eds.), Germany and ‘The West’: The History of a Modern Concept, New York: Berghahn, 2015; id. (eds.), Zivilisatorische Verortungen: Der ‘Westen’ an der Jahrhundertwende (1880-1930), Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, 2018; Michael Kimmage, The Abandonment of the West: The History of an Idea in American Foreign Policy, New York: Basic Books, 2020; see also Sebastian Conrad and Dominic Sachsenmaier (eds.), Competing Visions of World Order: Global Moments and Movements, 1880s-1930s, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.↩︎

  8. See, for instance, the chapters by David Armitage, ‘The International Turn in Intellectual History,’ and John Randolph, ‘The Space of Intellect and the Intellect of Space,’ in Darrin M. McMahon and Samuel Moyn (eds.), Rethinking Modern European Intellectual History, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 212-31, 232-52; Or Rosenboim, ‘Threads and Boundaries: Rethinking the Intellectual History of International Relations,’ in Nicolas Guilhot and Brian C. Schmidt (eds.), Historiographical Investigations in International Relations, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019, pp. 97-125; see also the classic study on shifting perceptions of space in literature, art, architecture, music, philosophy, sociology, and science in turn-of-the-century Europe by Stephen Kern, The Culture of Time and Space, 1880-1918, with a new preface, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003, first published 1983.↩︎

  9. See Patricia Owens and Katharina Rietzler (eds.), Women’s International Thought: A New History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021; see also Rosenboim, Emergence of Globalism, pp. 142-67; as well as more generally Cynthia Enloe, Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics, rev. ed., Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014, first published 1990. A particularly interesting yet underexplored example is Jessie Ackermann, The World Through a Woman’s Eyes, Chicago: [s.n.], 1896. We thank Ruby Ekkel for drawing our attention to this source.↩︎

  10. See, for instance, Joan M. Schwartz and James R. Ryan (eds.), Picturing Place: Photography and the Geographical Imagination, London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2003; see also the chapter by James Koranyi in Bavaj, Lawson and Struck (eds.), Doing Spatial History.↩︎

  11. Martin W. Lewis and Kären Wigen, The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997, pp. 3-4, 196.↩︎

  12. See Jürgen Dinkel, The Non-Aligned Movement: Genesis, Organization and Politics (1927-1992), Leiden: Brill, 2018, German 2015; Christoph Kalter, The Discovery of the Third World: Decolonization and the Rise of the New Left in France, c.1950-1976, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016, German 2011; id., ‘From Global to Local and Back: The “Third World” Concept and the New Radical Left in France,’ Journal of Global History 12, 2017, 115-36; see also Jürgen Dinkel, Steffen Fiebrig and Frank Reichherzer (eds.), Nord/Süd: Perspektiven auf eine globale Konstellation, Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, 2020; Anne Garland Mahler, From the Tricontinental to the Global South: Race, Radicalism, and Transnational Solidarity, Durham: Duke University Press, 2018; Ian Taylor, ‘The Global South,’ in Thomas G. Weiss and Rorden Wilkinson (eds.), International Organization and Global Governance, London: Routledge, 2014, pp. 279-91.↩︎

  13. See Denis Cosgrove, Apollo’s Eye: A Cartographic Genealogy of the Earth in the Western Imagination, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003; Martin Deuerlein, Das Zeitalter der Interdependenz: Globales Denken und internationale Politik in den langen 1970er Jahren, Göttingen: Wallstein, 2020; David Kuchenbuch, Welt-Bildner: Arno Peters, Richard Buckminster Fuller und die Mediengeschichte des Globalismus, 1940-2000, Weimar: Böhlau, 2021; see also, in this context, Helge Jordheim and Erling Sandmo (eds.), Conceptualizing the World: An Exploration Across Disciplines, New York and Oxford: Berghahn, 2019.↩︎

  14. Mark Bassin, Sergey Glebov and Marlene Laruelle (eds.), Between Europe and Asia, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015; Mark Bassin and Gonzalo Pozo (eds.), The Politics of Eurasianism, London: Lanham, 2017; Marlene Laruelle (ed.), Eurasianism and the European Far Right, London: Lanham, 2015; on the ‘imaginary geography’ of Sovietness see Emma Widdis, Visions of a New Land: Soviet Film from the Revolution to the Second World War, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.↩︎

  15. See Jürgen Osterhammel, Unfabling the East: The Enlightenment’s Encounter with Asia, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018, German 1998.↩︎

  16. The Sattelzeit comprises the decades around 1800 (1750-1850). See Reinhart Koselleck, Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time, New York: Columbia University Press, 2004, German 1979.↩︎

  17. Larry Wolff, Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994; for a different argument and chronology, which places the origins of the term ‘Eastern Europe’ in the early and mid-nineteenth century, see the earlier study by Hans Lemberg, ‘Zur Entstehung des Osteuropabegriffs im 19. Jahrhundert: Vom “Norden” zum “Osten” Europas,’ Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas 33, 1985, 48-91; see also Ezequiel Adamovsky, ‘Euro‐Orientalism and the Making of the Concept of Eastern Europe in France, 1810–1880,’ Journal of Modern History 77, 2005, 591–628; id., Euro-Orientalism: Liberal Ideology and the Image of Russia in France (c. 1740-1880), New York: Peter Lang, 2006; Diana Mishkova and Balázs Trencsényi (eds.), European Regions and Boundaries: A Conceptual History, New York: Berghahn, 2017; Willibald Steinmetz, Michael Freeden and Javier Fernández Sebastián (eds.), Conceptual History in the European Space, New York: Berghahn, 2017, esp. chapters 8 and 9; as well as the more recent studies by Larry Wolff, The Idea of Galicia: History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012, and id., Woodrow Wilson and the Reimagining of Eastern Europe, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2020; on the inner-European Orientalist discourse, see also Robert Born and Sarah Lemmen (eds.), Orientalismen in Ostmitteleuropa: Diskurse, Akteure und Disziplinen vom 19. Jahrhundert bis zum Zweiten Weltkrieg, Bielefeld: transcript, 2014.↩︎

  18. Nelson Moe, The View from Vesuvius: Italian Culture and the Southern Question, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002, pp. 1, 194, 275; see also the more recent work by Claudio Fogu, The Fishing Net and the Spider Web: Mediterranean Imaginaries and the Making of Italians, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020; Valerie McGuire, Italy’s Sea: Empire and Nation in the Mediterranean, 1895-1945, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2020; on southern Europe see also Philipp Müller and Clara Maier (eds.), ‘Konstrukt Südeuropa,’ Mittelweg, 36/5, 2018; Martin Baumeister and Roberto Sala (eds.), Southern Europe? Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece from the 1950s to the Present Day, Frankfurt/Main: Campus, 2015; on ‘the North’ see, more generally, Peter Davidson, The Idea of North, new ed., London: Reaktion, 2016, first published 2005.↩︎

  19. Kate McDonald, Placing Empire: Travel and the Social Imagination in Imperial Japan, Oakland: University of California Press, 2017, pp. 3, 7, 86; see also David L. Howell, Geographies of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Japan, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005; on the geographical consciousness in early modern Japan, see Marcia Yonemoto, Mapping Early Modern Japan: Space, Place, and Culture in the Tokugawa Period, 1603-1868, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003; on China see, moreover, Mark Edward Lewis, The Construction of Space in Early China, Albany: State University of New York Press, 2006; Ao Wang, Spatial Imaginaries in Mid-Tang China: Geography, Cartography, and Literature, Amherst: Cambria Press, 2018; see also the chapter by Konrad Lawson in Bavaj, Lawson and Struck (eds.), Doing Spatial History.↩︎

  20. On the idea of ‘Central Europe’ see most recently Otilia Dhand, The Idea of Central Europe: Geopolitics, Culture and Regional Identity, London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2018; Jessie Labov, Transatlantic Central Europe: Contesting Geography and Redefining Culture beyond the Nation, Budapest: Central European University Press, 2019.↩︎

  21. Ryan Gingeras, ‘Between the Cracks: Macedonia and the “Mental Map” of Europe,’ Canadian Slavonic Papers 50/3-4, 2008, 341–58.↩︎

  22. See, for instance, Janet Vertesi, ‘Mind the Gap: The London Underground Map and Users’ Representations of Urban Space’, Social Studies of Science 38/1, 2008, 7-33; see also Pamela K. Gilbert (ed.), Imagined Londons, Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002, chapters 6 and 7; as well as the above section in this historiographical essay ‘City and Home.’↩︎

  23. Maria Todorova, Imagining the Balkans, New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, updated ed. 2009; on Southeastern Europe see also Dietmar Müller, ‘Southeastern Europe as a Historical Meso-Region: Constructing Space in Twentieth-Century German Historiography,’ European Review of History 10, 2003, 393-408; K. E. Fleming, ‘Orientalism, the Balkans, and Balkan Historiography,’ American Historical Review 105, 2000, 1218-33.↩︎

  24. Todorova, Imagining the Balkans, pp. 22-5.↩︎

  25. Ibid., p. 26.↩︎

  26. Ibid., p. 27.↩︎

  27. Ibid., pp. 28, 34-35, 119.↩︎

  28. See now Diana Mishkova, Beyond Balkanism: The Scholarly Politics of Region Making, London and New York: Routledge, 2018; id., ‘Spatial Asymmetries: Regionalist Intellectual Projects in East Central Europe in the Interwar Period,’ in Marja Jalava, Stefan Nygård und Johan Strang (eds.), Decentering European Intellectual Space, Leiden: Brill, 2018, pp. 143-64; Timothy Snyder and Katherine Younger (eds.), The Balkans as Europe, 1821-1914, Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2018; see also Vedran Duančić, Geography and Nationalist Visions of Interwar Yugoslavia, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.↩︎