1st Edition

British Representations of the Middle East in the Exhibition Space, 1850–1932 Race, Gender, and Morality

By Holly O'Farrell Copyright 2024
    238 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume analyses British exhibitions of Middle Eastern (particularly ancient Egyptian and Persian) artefacts during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – examining how these exhibitions defined British self image in response to the Middle Eastern ‘other’.

    This study is an original interpretation of the exhibition space along intersectional constructionist lines, revealing how forces such as gender, race, morality and space come together to provide an argument for British supremacy. The position of museums as instruments of representation of display made them important points of contact between the British national imperialist scheme and the public. Displays in the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and Burlington House provide a focus for analysis. Through the employment of a constructionist lens, the research outlines a complex relationship between British society and the Middle Eastern artefacts presented in museums during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This allows a dialogue to emerge which has consequences for both societies which is achieved through intersections of gender, race and morality in space.

    This book will be of value to students and scholars alike interested in museology, cultural studies, history and art history.

    1. The Theoretical and Historiographical Position 2. Historical Setting – Britain, Egypt and Iran 3. Race, Dominance and Imperialism: Stimuli and Motives for British Displays of Egypt and Iran 4. Gender in Space, Display and the Creation of Meaning 5. Morality and British Might in Response to the ‘Other’ on Display


    Holly O’Farrell is currently a postdoctoral researcher with Museums, Collections and Society at Leiden University. Previously of University of Limerick, Ireland, her work covers 19th and 20th century museum representation, systems of power, the visibility of women collectors and collecting in the Middle East.