New Publication from Vicky Randall

I am pleased (relieved?) to announce the publication of my new book History, Empire, and Islam: E. A. Freeman and Victorian Public Morality (March, Manchester University Press, 2020).

Primarily this book is concerned with the major nineteenth-century historian, Edward Freeman, who wrote many books about the history of Britain’s relationship with the rest of the world, and was also an influential public commentator on international affairs. From a wider perspective, however, the book casts new light on the ways in which Britain’s sense of ‘self’ was constructed in the nineteenth century, and how racial and religious stereotypes about the Eastern ‘other’ were used to justify the subjugation of Oriental peoples.

Freeman is an interesting case study as his ideas show up some of the nuances and contradictions in thinking about history, empire, and Islam during the Victorian period. Freeman was both a fervent racist and Islamophobe, and a critic of imperial expansion. He mocked the East, but was also deeply afraid of an ‘Oriental conspiracy’ – a plot between the the Ottoman Turks and the Jewish people to bring about the downfall of Western civilization. My book therefore asks questions about ‘white fragility’ in the nineteenth century and suggests that insecurities about self-identity and racial chauvinism interacted in interesting and often overlooked ways.

To find out more about Vicky’s book, click here.

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