Working group: Tamar Chokoraia, Ewa Grzęda, Giorgi Tavadze
Project description: Imagined geographies include and are constituted by various discourses about places, regions, countries and peoples. These discourses are represented in travelogues, fiction, essays, memoirs, photo albums, videos, etc. As early as the 10th century, a Georgian monk, the abbot of Iveron Monastery of Mt. Athos, John the Iberian, wanted to travel to Spain because he believed that “relatives of Georgians” lived there. Centuries later, missionaries from Europe came to Georgia to propagate Catholicism, creating their imagined geographies which were expressed in their reports and travelogues. In the 19th century, against the background of the development of “Oriental” studies, Georgia and the Caucasus region in general was often considered as an “exotic” place. Imagined geographies created in Imperial Russia usually considered Georgia/Caucasus as integral yet distinct, yet-to-be-civilized part of the empire. The process of creation of imaginary geographies continued during the Soviet era, as evidenced, for example, by journalistic reports published during the Soviet period. Naturally, this process continues to this day. The aim of the project is to explore the ideological and cultural dimensions of creation of imagined geographies in the interdisciplinary context, to analyze the dominant narratives in the discursive field and the mechanisms of their functioning.