Colonial Encounters among English and Palestinian Women, 1800–1948

Nancy L. Stockdale

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"In this comprehensively researched study, Stockdale weaves a narrative of how British women abetted imperial projects in Palestine in several key historical periods ending with the British withdrawal and the creation of the Israeli state."--Garay Menicucci, University of California, Santa Barbara

The setting of Palestine as the "Land of the Bible" made it a geographical space that English people felt they already knew. Using the "knowledge" they brought with them, coupled with the knowledge they collected, they asserted English superiority over Palestinians and their society. Nancy Stockdale shows us that fundamental to this process were English women, who played an active role in the imperial attempt to disseminate English culture and authority in this contested space.

British women travelers and missionaries worked to significantly alter Palestinian women’s lives, while painting a portrait of Palestine as a backward, ignorant place in need of English moral and political leadership.

The Palestinian women who embraced British culture found themselves trapped between their indigenous culture and the culture of the imperial power, never fully accepted into either. This resulted in feelings of disappointment and betrayal, and contributed to the ultimate failure of the English imperial project in Palestine.

By illuminating the manner in which Palestinian women viewed English women--often as exotic as their own image in the minds of the English--Stockdale demonstrates the reflexive nature of the colonial encounter, deflecting and reorienting the imperial gaze.

Nancy L. Stockdale is assistant professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of North Texas.

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" A useful and engaging momograph examining the points of contact between English and Palestinean women during a formative period in the history of the Near East. This book that rightly does not shy away from the political questions that shape this cultural encounter."
--H-Net Reviews

"This theoretically well-grounded study complements a growing body of research that examines English-Palestinian relations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries just as it adds to the body of works that explore imperial/colonial and polstcolonial moments in history. Scholars in multiple fields, including women's and gender studies and comparative colonial and postcolonial studies as well as Middle Eastern history, will benefit from this well-researched and well-written book."
--Middle East and Northern Africa

"A valuable addition to the growing body of literature on representation, especially of minority/marginal entities and in cross-cultural encounters. The broad sweep of scholarship as reflected in this book is enviable."
--Muslim World Book Review

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