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Orientalism and Musical Mission
Palestine and the West


  • Date Published: April 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107036567

£ 81.00

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About the Authors
  • Orientalism and Musical Mission presents a new way of understanding music's connections with imperialism, drawing on new archive sources and interviews and using the lens of 'mission'. Rachel Beckles Willson demonstrates how institutions such as churches, schools, radio stations and governments, influenced by missions from Europe and North America since the mid-nineteenth century, have consistently claimed that music provides a way of understanding and reforming Arab civilians in Palestine. Beckles Willson discusses the phenomenon not only in religious and developmental aid circles where it has had strong currency, but also in broader political contexts. Plotting a historical trajectory from the late Ottoman and British Mandate eras to the present time, the book sheds new light on relations between Europe, the USA and the Palestinians, and creates space for a neglected Palestinian music history.

    • Proposes new ways of thinking about the legacy of Orientalism and will contribute to related discussions in a wide spectrum of disciplines
    • Provides a new way of theorising music's connections with imperialism and will facilitate further research in this expanding field
    • Brings a neglected historical narrative about Palestine together with research on the contemporary situation and will shed fresh light on the conflict in Israel and Palestine
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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107036567
    • length: 380 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.86kg
    • contains: 5 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Holy Land, 1840–1948:
    1. Revelation
    2. Distinction
    3. Education
    4. Separation: the Palestine Broadcasting Service
    5. Provincializing mission
    Part II. State(s), 1987 Onwards:
    6. Culture
    7. Dialogue
    8. Musical missionaries
    9. Conclusion
    Interview database
    Archival sources.

  • Author

    Rachel Beckles Willson, Royal Holloway, University of London
    Rachel Beckles Willson is Associate Professor of Music at Royal Holloway, University of London. She has published numerous articles and two monographs on music politics, giving special attention to the former Eastern Bloc and Israel/Palestine. Her most recent book was Ligeti, Kurtág, and Hungarian Music during the Cold War (2007). Rachel originally trained as a pianist at the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, before reading for a Ph.D. at King's College London. She has taught a wide range of courses, including Music and Orientalism, Communism and Music, and Intercultural Performance. Between 2008 and 2010 she was based at the Humboldt University in Berlin, supported by a Fellowship for Experienced Researchers from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Alongside her scholarly pursuits, she is an active musician, performing as a pianist, saxophonist and 'ūd player.

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