• Erotics of the Exotic: Orientalism and Fictionalization of the Mooress in the Early Modern Mediterranean

    The representation of women in the realm of Islam in early modern Spanish literary, religious, historical, and political texts provides a very significant key to the perception of the “Other” in Spain. These women were categorized according to their radically different circumstances: in Spain they were Moriscas (where they were the objects of an internal colonization), but in the Ottoman Empire (which was seen as a threat to Christian Europe) they were Moras and Turcas. Muslim women were systematically portrayed as highly sexualized subjects, sometimes in combination with the mystified harem and the slave market. In a tone ranging from contempt and disgust to ravishing desire, Muslim women were depicted as sensual and sexually accessible creatures. This Occidental fantasy was a means of establishing an imaginary domain over a powerful rival. Such representations of women were themselves essentially Orientalist, even when they occurred prior to the colonial and postcolonial relationship between the West and the Orient, suggesting that Orientalism itself ought not to be exclusively linked with colonialism and postcolonialism.

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    Gender, Religion, and Secularism in the English Mission Hospital of Jerusalem, 1844–1880

    This article offers new insights into the operation of the Mission Hospital built in Jerusalem in 1844 by the London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews (LJS) and the space that was created within it. I argue that the encounter in Jerusalem between Jewish women and the missionaries worked to create a liminal space that was neither religious nor secular, neither Jewish nor Christian, but all (and none) of these at once. I draw on Olwen Hufton’s concept of the “economy of makeshifts” to portray the hospital’s unique space. Based on the existing literature and new evidence, I show that in effect the Mission Hospital served women more than men, and I suggest that the gender composition of the patients allowed the hospital to succeed and helped to shape its operation. After a brief review of the literature, I introduce the LJS and compare its Jerusalem medical mission with contemporary medical institutions in England. I then expand on evidence showing that the Mission Hospital was in fact more of a women’s hospital and suggest why that was the case.

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  • The Making of Palestinian Christian Womanhood: Gender, Class, and Community in Mandate Palestine

    This article seeks to expand the study of Palestinian Arab women’s self-identification and social and political activism by examining how Arab Christian women viewed, shaped, and managed their participation in the project of defining Palestinian national identity during the period of British colonial occupation. During the Mandate period, elite Christian women made particular use of mission schools and Christian women’s charitable organizations as platforms for promoting a vision of Palestinian nationalism as modern, nonsectarian, and politically progressive, in hopes of creating a Palestinian national identity in which they could claim a central role. As the Mandate wore on, though, it became increasingly evident that the presentation of Christian women as central to the expression of a broadly based, nonsectarian, modernizing, Westernizing Palestinian national identity was belied somewhat by the communal and class consciousness that education in elite Christian schools and membership in charitable organizations engendered. The way in which this purportedly middle-class, nonsectarian nationalist vision was developed and articulated in highly class- and communally conscious venues ultimately limited its purview and linked it with oppressive colonial practices in the eyes of much of the Palestinian Arab population.

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