This paper, largely inspired by Giorgio Agamben's conceptualization of the camp, reflects on the relationship between the 'topographical' and the 'topological' in reference to Auschwitz-Birkenau and its spatialities. After having discussed the concept of soglia (threshold), we briefly introduce the ways in which the historiographical literature on the Holocaust treats the relationship between modernity, rationality, and Nazism. The second part of the paper is dedicated to an attempt to read 'geographically' the entanglements between the camp, Nazi spatial planning, bureaucratic rationalities, and the Holocaust. The notion of the camp-as-a-spazio-soglia is central to this interpretation. Auschwitz, conceived as a metaphorical and real space of exception, is contextualized within the broader regional geography planned by the Nazis for that part of Poland; while 'Mexico', a specific compound within the camp, is described as a key threshold in the reproduction of those very geographies. The aim is to show how the topological spatialities of the camp were a constitutive element of the overall biopolitical Nazi project of 'protective custody' and extermination and that, for this reason, they deserve further investigation and need to be discussed in the relation to the crude calculative and topographical aspirations of that same project. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Topographies/topologies of the camp: Auschwitz as a spatial threshold

Minca C.
2011

Abstract

This paper, largely inspired by Giorgio Agamben's conceptualization of the camp, reflects on the relationship between the 'topographical' and the 'topological' in reference to Auschwitz-Birkenau and its spatialities. After having discussed the concept of soglia (threshold), we briefly introduce the ways in which the historiographical literature on the Holocaust treats the relationship between modernity, rationality, and Nazism. The second part of the paper is dedicated to an attempt to read 'geographically' the entanglements between the camp, Nazi spatial planning, bureaucratic rationalities, and the Holocaust. The notion of the camp-as-a-spazio-soglia is central to this interpretation. Auschwitz, conceived as a metaphorical and real space of exception, is contextualized within the broader regional geography planned by the Nazis for that part of Poland; while 'Mexico', a specific compound within the camp, is described as a key threshold in the reproduction of those very geographies. The aim is to show how the topological spatialities of the camp were a constitutive element of the overall biopolitical Nazi project of 'protective custody' and extermination and that, for this reason, they deserve further investigation and need to be discussed in the relation to the crude calculative and topographical aspirations of that same project. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
2011
Giaccaria P.; Minca C.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/705668
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