Nazi biopolitics and the dark geographies of the selva

Paolo Giaccaria, Claudio Minca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the spatialities of Nazi genocidial practices. It does so by engaging with the concepts of selva and città, as inspired by Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben and drawing upon a broader tradition in human geography. Although the historical events that we recall have been extensively discussed elsewhere, we revisit them here through the lens of two geographical metaphors, the selva and the città, in order to gain new insight into the spatial and philosophical dimensions of Nazi geopolitics and biopolitics. We also comment on how these latter have contributed to the merging of the ‘ideal’ and the ‘factual’ realms of the Nazi geopolitical project for the creation of new vital space for the German people. We suggest that much can be learned from an examination of the ways in which particular understandings of (imagined and material) space marked the genocidial plans and practices of the Nazi perpetrators, producing a specific geography of genocide, where (spatial) theory and the implementation of extermination came together.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-84
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of genocide research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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