Women's Orients: English Women and the Middle East, 1718-1918--Sexuality, Religion and Work

Overview

In this original new study Billie Melman recovers the unwritten history of the European experience of the Middle East during the colonial era. She focuses on the evolution of Orientalism and the reconstruction--through contact with other cultures--of gender and class. Beginning with the eighteenth century Billie Melman describes the many ways in which women looked at oriental people and places and developed a discourse which presented a challenge to hegemonic notions on the exotic and "different." Their contact ...
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Overview

In this original new study Billie Melman recovers the unwritten history of the European experience of the Middle East during the colonial era. She focuses on the evolution of Orientalism and the reconstruction--through contact with other cultures--of gender and class. Beginning with the eighteenth century Billie Melman describes the many ways in which women looked at oriental people and places and developed a discourse which presented a challenge to hegemonic notions on the exotic and "different." Their contact with, and observation of, Middle Eastern people, especially women, created a reassessment of Western domestic and sexual politics and even a solidarity of gender, which cut across race and religion. Billie Melman examines the writings of famous feminist writers, travellers, ethnographers, missionaries, archaeologists, and Biblical scholars, many of whose writings are studied here for the first time. Women's Orients, by introducing gender and class into the ongoing debate on relations between colonial politics and culture, challenges traditional interpretations of Orientalism and other forms of cross-cultural representation.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472082797
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/1995
  • Pages: 417

Table of Contents

List of Plates
List of Abbreviations
List of Figures and Tables
Note on Transcription
Preface
Introduction 1
Lady Stanhope's Second Burial 1
Boundaries and Definitions 2
A Note on the Historiography 4
The Scope of Women's Writing 7
A General Map: Women's Travel in the Mediterranean 8
From the peregrinatio por Christo to Curiositas: Three Modes of Modern Travel 14
On Method and Structure 18
Pt. I Orientalism, Travel and Gender
1 A Prosopography of Travel, 1763-1914 25
Strategies and Method 25
Mapping the Field: Printed Books, 1763-1914 31
Patterns of Travel and Work 33
Some Eastern Careers: Literary Travellers 48
Working in God's Vineyard: Evangelical Careers 53
Pt. II The Women's Harem: Autonomy, Sexuality and Solidarity
2 Harem Literature, 1763-1914: Tradition and Innovation 59
Western Images of the Harem 59
Three Literary Authorities: Elements of Contiguity 63
The Criticism on Travellers 73
3 The Eighteenth-Century Harem (1717-89): Lady Montagu, Lady Craven and the Genealogy of Comparative 'Morals' 77
'Noveltie' and Tradition 77
Liberty behind the Veil 85
4 Exorcising Sheherezad: The Victorians and the Harem 99
Changes in Sensibilities 99
Rhetoric and Representation, A Preliminary Note 101
Degrees of Freedom: From 'Liberty' to 'Autonomy' 103
Physiognomy, Character, Dress and Undress 112
'The Eternal or Unsatiating Banquet': Eating, Food and Table Manners 122
Hygiene and Morality 130
5 The Haremlik as a Bourgeois Home: Autonomy, Community and Solidarity 137
The Rhetoric of Domesticity: Attitudes to Seclusion, Polygamy and Concubinage 137
The Private as Public: Organisation of Space in the Haremlik 148
Women at Work: The Haremlik as a Work-place 159
Pt. III Evangelising the Orient: Women's Work and the Evolution of Evangelical Ethnography
6 Evangelical Travel and the Evangelical Construction of Gender 165
7 The Women of Christ Church: Work, Literature and Community in Nineteenth-Century Jerusalem 175
Women's Work 175
The Women of Christ Church 179
8 'Domestic Life in Palestine': Evangelical Ethnography, Faith and Prejudice 191
Some Characteristics 191
Christian and Muslim Women 194
Christian and Jewish Women: 'Mothers' and 'Daughters' 199
9 Feminising the Landscape 210
Reference Texts 210
Evangelical Feminine Geography 218
Ruth and Naomi: Figures in a Landscape 224
Pt. IV A Secular Geography of the Orient: Authority, Gender and Travel
10 Harriet Martineau's Anti-Pilgrimage: Autobiography, History and Landscape 235
Eastern Life and Martineau's Western Life: the Journey as Bildung 235
'A Useful Auxiliary', the Allegiance to Tradition 239
Ideology and Landscape 243
11 Queen Hatasu's Beard: Amelia Edwards, the Scientific Journey and the Emergence of the First Female 'Orientalists' 254
New Careers and New Attitudes: the Birth of Modern Archaeology 254
The Modern Explorer: Egyptology as Exploration
Queen Hatasu's Beard: Ancient History and Women's History 264
The Non-Metaphoric Nile Journey 269
12 An 'Orientalist' Couple: Anne Blunt, Wilfrid Scawen Blunt and the Pilgrimage to Najd 276
Writing Couples, a Preliminary Note 276
The Co-Written Travel Account 279
Authority, Authorship and Censorship 282
The Unromantic Traveller: Representations of the Desert 287
Ethnography and Empathy: Humanising the Arabs 296
Conclusion 306
Appendix A: Biographies of Travellers and Travel Writers 318
Appendix B: Evangelical Travel and Work in Mid Nineteenth-Century Palestine 336
Notes 340
Bibliography 376
Index 398
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