Imagining Geographies, Mapping Identities

Main Article Content

Matthew Graves
Elizabeth Rechniewski


The ambition of this issue of Portal is to reach across the methodological boundaries of history, politics, literature and geography to apply their complementary perspectives to the study of identity and its relation to space and place, an aim that involves attempting to identify the many different ways the notoriously slippery concepts of identity and geography may intersect.

For this issue we have selected articles that cast a fresh perspective on two areas where identity and geography intersect: the construction of identity through the imaginative recreation of place in literature: Mapping Literary Spaces; and the study of the shifting relationships of centre and periphery, exclusion and inclusion in urban settings and geopolitical confrontations: Social and Political Peripheries.

Gerard Toal has written that geography is not a noun but a verb: it does not describe what space is but studies what we do with space, imaginatively and politically. The articles in this issue illustrate the exercise of the literary and political imagination and the role of materiality and memory in the creation of geographic representation. They show too a new awareness of the centrality of space in the constitution of identities, and the need for a new geocritical reading of its discourse, as the interrelations of place and community are played out on the many scales of social and political life, from the local to the global.


The special issue is organised thus:


Matthew Graves (Aix-Marseille University) & Liz Rechniewski (Sydney University): “Imagining Geographies, Mapping Identities.”

I. Mapping Literary Spaces

- Isabelle Avila (University of Paris XIII), "Les Cartes de l'Afrique au XIXe siècle et Joseph Conrad : Perceptions d'une Révolution Cartographique."

- Daniela Rogobete (University of Craiova), "Global vs Glocal: Dimensions of the post-1981 Indian English Novel."

II. Social and Political Peripheries

- Elizabeth Rechniewski (Sydney University), “The Perils of Proximity: The Geopolitical Underpinnings of Australian views of New Caledonia in the 19th Century."

- Annie Ousset-Krief (Paris III), "Le Yiddishland newyorkais."

- Carolyn Stott (Sydney University), "Belleville: Space, Place and Identity."

- Esme Cleall (University of Sheffield), "Silencing Deafness: Marginalising Disability in the 19th century."


Article Details

Geographies of Identity Special Issue January 2015 (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Matthew Graves, Aix-Marseille Université

Associate Professor, Department of Anglo-American Studies, Department of Geography. Comparative European Studies.