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The othering othered: English female travel writers in Arabia

This thesis examines female travel writing in Arabia. Travel writing as an Orientalist discourse influenced both ordinary and well-educated people in the West to look at the Orient through Orientalist stereotypes: “primitive” life-style of nomads, oil industry, or lands of constant conflicts. Travel writing in Arabia is dealt with as a prominent way for understanding the Orient, especially the Arabian Peninsula in the period 1800 – 1950s. Female travellers had the privilege of accessing the “Harem”, the secluded part of the Arabian house for women in addition to their access (as white women) to the men’s reception rooms. Studying these writers enables us to see how the Orient as “Other” is represented by female travellers who were considered “Other” themselves in the Western context. This thesis draws on scholars who adopt a feminist reading of Orientalism and who refuse the neglect of female travel writing and assert that female travel writers did produced imperialist images in their unique styles and aesthetic accounts. This thesis centres on the writings of three female travellers who travelled in Arabia between 1878-1940s: Lady Anne Blunt (1878), Gertrude Bell (1913), and Freya Stark (1930s – 1940s). The analysis of these travellers argues that Orientalism is the unique response of any given Orientalist. It depends on the individuals’ cultural, social, political, and psychological background, which in turn contributes to the study of Orientalism in general as an overarching theme in the Western perspective on the Middle East.
Type of thesis
Hakami, T. Y. (2021). The othering othered: English female travel writers in Arabia (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14372
The University of Waikato
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