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Title page for ETD etd-03232015-131711

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Gorman, Henry Grey
Author's Email Address henry.g.gorman@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-03232015-131711
Title A Contact Threesome: Americans, Arabs, and Imperialists
Degree Master of Arts
Department History
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Paul Kramer Committee Chair
Leor Halevi Committee Member
Richard McGregor Committee Member
Sarah Igo Committee Member
  • Middle East
  • Levant
  • Empire
  • Orientalism
  • Missionaries
  • Pilgrimage
  • Science
  • Travel Writing
  • American Board for the Commission of Foreign Missions
  • Beirut
  • Jerusalem
  • Protestants
  • Cosmology
  • Lebanon
Date of Defense 2015-03-23
Availability unrestricted
This paper explores how encounters with European empire shaped American missionary and travel writing about the Middle East in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I break with the way that scholars in the humanities, and historians of Americans in the Middle East in particular, talk about intercultural contact. Most just narrate exchanges between Americans and their Others, ignoring the context that made those interactions possible. Post-spatial turn scholars have contextualized cultural exchanges in spaces like Mary Louise Pratt's “contact zone.” However, they usually focus on “hetero” interactions within those zones-- those between the visitor and the “Other.” But American travelers visited places inhabited by people who they identified with-- like European imperialists-- as well as Others. The imperial power relationships within those places shaped Americans' experiences. I “queer” Pratt's contact zone and examine how “homo” interactions-- between visitors and people they identified with-- mediated contact. Imperial threesomes produced Americans' experiences in areas dominated by European empires. Exchanging a binary model of encounter for a triangular one, I explore the ways that imperial power relations shaped American Protestants' pilgrimages and missions in the Middle East.
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