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Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery - Nabil Matar

Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery

Paperback Published: 25th September 2000
ISBN: 9780231110150
Number Of Pages: 288
For Ages: 22+ years old

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During the early modern period, hundreds of Turks and Moors traded in English and Welsh ports, dazzled English society with exotic cuisine and Arabian horses, and worked small jobs in London, while the "Barbary Corsairs" raided coastal towns and, if captured, lingered in Plymouth jails or stood trial in Southampton courtrooms. In turn, Britons fought in Muslim armies, traded and settled in Moroccan or Tunisian harbor towns, joined the international community of pirates in Mediterranean and Atlantic outposts, served in Algerian households and ships, and endured captivity from Salee to Alexandria and from Fez to Mocha.

In "Turks, Moors, and Englishmen, " Nabil Matar vividly presents new data about Anglo-Islamic social and historical interactions. Rather than looking exclusively at literary works, which tended to present unidimensional stereotypes of Muslims -- Shakespeare's "superstitious Moor" or Goffe's "raging Turke," to name only two -- Matar delves into hitherto unexamined English prison depositions, captives' memoirs, government documents, and Arabic chronicles and histories. The result is a significant alternative to the prevailing discourse on Islam, which nearly always centers around ethnocentrism and attempts at dominance over the non-Western world, and an astonishing revelation about the realities of exchange and familiarity between England and Muslim society in the Elizabethan and early Stuart periods.

Concurrent with England's engagement and "discovery" of the Muslims was the "discovery" of the American Indians. In an original analysis, Matar shows how Hakluyt and Purchas taught their readers not only about America but about the Muslim dominions, too; how there were more reasons for Britons to venture eastward than westward; and how, in the period under study, more Englishmen lived in North Africa than in North America. Although Matar notes the sharp political and colonial differences between the English encounter with the Muslims and their encounter with the Indians, he shows how Elizabethan and Stuart writers articulated Muslim in terms of Indian, and Indian in terms of Muslim. By superimposing the sexual constructions of the Indians onto the Muslims, and by applying to them the ideology of holy war which had legitimated the destruction of the Indians, English writers prepared the groundwork for orientalism and for the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century conquest of Mediterranean Islam.

Matar's detailed research provides a new direction in the study of England's geographic imagination. It also illuminates the subtleties and interchangeability of stereotype, racism, and demonization that must be taken into account in any responsible depiction of English history.

Industry Reviews

A valuable contribution to the study of the rise of Orientalism and colonialism... perceptive and elegantly written. Arab Studies Journal An important but neglected topic. Matar has done early modern scholarship an important service. Sixteenth Century Journal Worth [its] weight in gold... Matar's work adds to the discourse of both orientalism and post-colonialism by providing essential detailed historical analysis of primary sources... Extremely informative and enlightening. The Muslim World Book Review Matar's work is full of surprises for anyone who believes that Christian-Muslim relations have always been confrontational. -- William Dalrymple New York Review of Books

Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 3
Turks and Moors in Englandp. 19
Soldiers, Pirates, Traders, and Captives: Britons Among the Mulsimsp. 43
The Renaissance Triangle: Britons, Muslims, and American Indiansp. 83
Sodomy and Conquestp. 109
Holy Land, Holy Warp. 129
Conclusion: Britons, Muslims, and the Shadow of the American Indiansp. 169
English Captivity Accounts, 1577-1704p. 181
The Journey of the first Levantine to Americap. 185
Ahmad bin Qasim on Sodomyp. 193
Notesp. 195
Bibliographyp. 231
Indexp. 257
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780231110150
ISBN-10: 0231110154
Audience: General
For Ages: 22+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 25th September 2000
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.81 x 15.16  x 1.83
Weight (kg): 0.36

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