The Victorians in Palestine: Laying Colonial Foundations

12 October 2022

This webinar considers British involvement in and attitudes towards Palestine during the so-called “Peaceful Crusade” of the nineteenth century. Polly presents aspects of his book Palestine in the Victorian Age, arguing that Britain’s occupation, and the Zionist movement’s settler-colonisation, were significantly prefigured by Victorian Britons. Drawing on Evangelical Christian discourses around the Holy Land and the Jewish people and the geopolitical rivalries of the Eastern Question, these individuals created expectations for Palestine’s future which were then put into practice from 1917 to 1948 and beyond.

Polly also undertakes a historiographical consideration of nineteenth-century Palestine. Narratives beginning in 1917 not only elide the longer role of Western imperialism in the Palestinian tragedy, but also fail to convey the social, economic and environmental conditions existing before colonisation, giving an impression – inadvertently or purposefully – of a land without a history, or as some would have us believe, without a people.

This webinar is the first in a series of events organised by the CBRL Kenyon Institute marking the centenary of the British Mandate in Palestine (1922-1948).

It will take place on Wednesday 12 October 2022, at 6pm Jerusalem time, 4 pm in the UK.

To register to attend the webinar, please register here.

The event will also be made available on CBRL’s YouTube channel.

About the speaker:

Gabriel Polley, author of Palestine in the Victorian Age: Colonial Encounters in the Holy Land

Gabriel Polley completed his PhD in Palestine studies in the European Centre for Palestine Studies, University of Exeter, in 2020. He previously studied the history of art and literature at the University of East Anglia, and Palestine and Arabic studies at Birzeit University, and taught in the West Bank, Palestine. He currently works in London in the translation and international development sector.