As travel began to massify in the aftermath of the Great War when passenger ships still regularly stopped at ports of call, and as Australia developed a sub-imperial relationship to its near Melanesian neighbors in Papua and New Guinea, the Pacific and its islands loomed large in Australians’ consciousness and print culture. This article employs Christina Klein’s concept of “middlebrow orientalism” to examine how Australia’s quality magazines, MAN and The BP Magazine, reflected an “expansive material and symbolic investment in Asia and the Pacific” (2003: 11) between the two world wars. While development of a consumerist, leisure relationship with the region is in evidence in these magazines that undoubtedly assume the superiority of White Australia, we argue they also promote diversity, inclusiveness, and an emerging maturity in outlook that conveyed the way in which Australians began to understand themselves as Pacific citizens wishing to “make friends of the nations.”
Australian Interwar Magazines and Middlebrow Orientalism in the Pacific
Victoria Kuttainen and Sarah Galletly
Technology, Gender, and Orientalism in German Interwar Motorized Adventure Literature
Following Germany's resounding defeat in the First World War, the loss of its status as a colonial power, and the series of severe political and economic upheavals during the interwar years, travel abroad by motor vehicle was one way that Germans sought to renegotiate their place in the world. One important question critical studies of mobility should ask is if technologies of mobility contributed to the construction of cultural inequality, and if so in which ways? Although Germans were not alone in using technology to shore up notions of cultural superiority, the adventure narratives of interwar German motorists, both male and female, expressed aspirations for renewed German power on the global stage, based, in part, on the claimed superiority of German motor vehicle technology.
Beyond Orientalism; Texting the Victorian East
Julia Kuehn and Tamara S. Wagner
Thirty years after its publication in 1978, a reconsideration of Edward Said’s Orientalism invites a shift from contextual and colonial discourse analysis towards a renewed attention to ambiguities of form and structure. The central point of interest of this special issue, ‘Re-Imagining the Victorian Orient’, hinges upon close readings of canonical and noncanonical texts, side by side, in order to highlight the complexities of Victorian literary culture that earlier readings often threatened to deny. The analyses comprise discussions of travel writing as well as of fiction from the 1830s up to the 1920s, covering what is commonly considered the height of imperialism. What brings the essays in this special issue together is the project of opening up the question of the Victorian Orient as a concept and a literary topos, based upon, but also beyond the critical tenets of Orientalism. While this project is rooted in literary history and the history of representation, its main emphasis firmly rests on a ‘texting’ of the Victorian East: an emphasis on genre, aesthetics, and structural metaphors. This collection is held together by the places it foregrounds as much as by this critical redirection towards textual analysis. Divided into two parts, it reads women’s travelogues covering the Middle East, South, and South East Asia, comparing and contrasting them with the ‘notorious’ colonial novels of Dickens, Conrad, Kipling, and Forster.
The Metaphor of the Turk and the Crisis of the Spanish Monarchy in the Early Nineteenth Century
Juan Luis Simal and Darina Martykánová
King Ferdinand VII of Spain was often compared to the Ottoman sultan. It was a rhetorical operation that continued a tradition in Western Christendom by which Christian rulers were compared to oriental despots not because they were considered to be equal to them, but to show how far astray from the ideal of good government they were. This article examines the multiple dimensions of this comparison. To what extent was it a reaffirmation of the construction of the Turk as a radical other? Or were there new essential elements, and therefore the metaphor of the Turk can also be interpreted within a new universalistic discourse that opposed tyrants to oppressed peoples across cultural and religious barriers? Our examination leads to a reflection on the transnational character of the discursive frameworks in which the metaphor of the Turk was built and rebuilt, on its circulation and limits, and on its specific uses.
Interventions into, and the Tenacity of, Romantic Travel Writing in Southwest Persia
This article concerns the written life of Dr Elizabeth Ness Macbean Ross (1878–1915). Ross's posthumously published memoir about this time, A Lady Doctor in Bakhtiari Land (1921), challenges the masculine, monomythic stance of her travel-writing forebears Sir Henry Layard and Sir Richard Burton and anticipates contemporary texts in which the encounter between “traveling“ self and “native” other destabilizes, rather than reaffirms, the traveler's sense of identity and authority. The article also briefly examines a set of stories the Times ran on Dr Ross, which attempted to appropriate her for a dominant narrative of the Middle East reliant on a languid orientalism, on the one hand, and tales of derring-do, on the other; a narrative which persists to the present day, and which the forgotten A Lady Doctor in Bakhtiari Land works hard to resist.
The growth of the Hebraica/Judaica collections, which form part of the Ancient Near East Semitics and Judaica Section, reflect to a large extent the policies and resources of the library over the years, with the addition of some significant donations. The establishment of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in 1917 came as a response to the long-felt need for a separate institution, as a constituent college of the University of London, for the study of the languages and cultures of Asia and Africa, in view of Britain’s worldwide interests. The nucleus of the Hebrew collection of the library was formed by transfers from University College, London. For a number of years, however, growth was slow, as the library’s budget and staff complement was very small, particularly until after the Second World War.
English abstract (full article is in French):
This article focuses on the role of spatiality in the world of eastern Mediterranean Jews, which is viewed as a configuration of networked space. In looking at the wide range of views elicited by Joseph Pérez, a novel by Abraham Navon published in 1925, it is appropriate that spatiality be studied conjointly and comparatively as much from the point of view of the observer as the observed, in order to divest oneself of preconstructed and opposed East/West stereotypes. The publication of Joseph Pérez occurred in the midst of a significant upsurge in exotic and orientalist literary trends, which presented the “oriental” Jew as a reflection of this opposition. The study of the positioning of characters in the work of Abraham Navon, as well as in the work of the celebrated author Albert Cohen, reveals the underlying stratum of articulated spaces that differ as much in terms of the world of the authors’ imaginations as that of the transterritorial migration of these Sephardic individuals.
Indian Visitors at the 1893 Columbian Exposition
This article examines the travel narratives of three Indian visitors to the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Occupying a precarious space between spectacle and spectator at the World's Fair, these visitors returned the ethnographic gaze and instead offered cultural self-representation that co-existed with and contested the prevalent perceptions of India (and other non-Western peoples). In the process, their narratives both questioned the civilized/primitive dichotomy as well as disrupted the grand official narrative of Anglo-Saxon supremacy and progress celebrated at the exposition.
Spirituality and women's agency beyond the Catholic Church in Poland
This article looks at various models of women's agency in Poland in the context of religion. Based on fieldwork among members of two feminized religious milieus—a new religious movement the Brahma Kumaris and an informal Catholic fundamentalist group—this article discusses the role of silence in ritual and everyday life as a form of agency. From the perspective of feminist discourse, particularly Western liberal feminism, silence is often interpreted as a lack of power. Drawing on informants' experiences, under Polish gender regimes, particularly as they relate to the organization of public and private spheres, silence is shown to be a fundamental component of agency. The analysis of silence displays the complexity of religious issues in Poland and serves as a critique of assumptions about religious homogeneity and the pervasiveness of religious authority in Poland.
Class, Authority, and the Reception of Knowledge in Victorian Women's Travel Writing
This essay considers epistemological vocabularies in aristocratic women’s travel writing of the Victorian period, examining the ways in which travelogues use ideas of ‘interest’ to stage the processing and dissemination of knowledge about, and personal experience of, ‘the Orient’ over the course of the nineteenth century. Each of the three travellers who are the main focus of my essay develops her own distinctive model of engagement with the regions in which she journeys: models which nevertheless all turn upon particular invocations of concepts of ‘interest’. I will first discuss what aspects of knowledge these writers are interested in and how they represent their own interest in the East, then analyse the ways through which the publication of their writings appeals to the interests of their British readership, before asking how the travellers’ best interests are furthered or hindered by the modes of epistemological authority they formulate. Ultimately, I argue that these inflections of interest reflect both the British upper class’s increasing emphasis on elite societal and cultural responsibility and, more generally, changing Victorian models of epistemological engagement with the Orient.