Xenophobic Sentient Landscapes – Fascist Responses to Economic Colonialisms
Alexandra Coţofană (Zayed University, UAE)
The keynote presentation uses several years of research in Romania to address questions at the intersection of fascism and economy. In Romania, entire segments of the population understand the landscape as sentient and accept narratives in which the landscape acts according to its own volition. Most often in these narratives, the mountains, rivers, marshes, and forests act against an ethno-religious other understood as colonizing. Whether these colonizations are real or imagined is a secondary issue – what matters most is the fact that the landscape is imagined as having a sense of patriotism and right-wing tendencies. In a recent event from 2010, Romania’s Carpathian Mountains are believed to have struck down an IDF helicopter. This led social media commentators to employ past and present antisemitic stereotypes to celebrate the act – in a country where close to 400,000 Jews were murdered during World War II.
The concept of xenophobic sentient landscape is used as a node, and the presentation follows the different threads that form it: nationalism, Christianity, antisemitism, conspiracy theories, and more. This talk investigates some of the ontological intricacies of the Carpathians to find out what makes the mountains an appropriate site for exploring the concept of xenophobic sentient landscapes. The intervention of the data I present is twofold: first, it asks readers to take the concept of a xenophobic sentient landscape seriously; second, it intervenes in the literature to destabilize current categories, in an exercise of thinking through the politics of landscape imaginaries.
03 July 2023
Hörsaal G, Hörsaalgebäude
Universität zu Köln