Gabriel Polley

Dec 5, 2022

Palestine in the Victorian Age

Colonial Encounters in the Holy Land

I. B. Tauris 2022

In this episode I have interviewed Gabriel Polley, winner of the Ibrahim Dakkak Award for the best essay published in 2021 by the Jerusalem Quarterly.

Narratives of the modern history of Palestine/Israel often begin with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and Britain's arrival in 1917. However, this work argues that the contest over Palestine has its roots deep in the 19th century, with Victorians who first cast the Holy Land as an area to be possessed by empire, then began to devise schemes for its settler colonization. The product of historical research among almost forgotten guidebooks, archives and newspaper clippings, this book presents a previously unwritten chapter of Britain's colonial desire, and reveals how indigenous Palestinians began to react against, or accommodate themselves to, the West's fascination with their ancestral land. From the travellers who tried to overturn Jerusalem's holiest sites, to an uprising sparked by a church bell and a missionary's tragic actions, to one Palestinian's eventful visit to the heart of the British Empire, Palestine in the Victorian Age: Colonial Encounters in the Holy Land (I. B. Tauris, 2022) reveals how the events of the nineteenth century have cast a long shadow over the politics of Palestine/Israel ever since.

Roberto Mazza is currently an independent scholar. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at robbymazza@gmail.com. Twitter and IG: @robbyref.

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Roberto Mazza

Roberto Mazza is visiting professor at Northwestern University. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at robbymazza@gmail.com. Twitter: @robbyref

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