British Imperialism and 'the Tribal Question': Desert Administration and Nomadic Societies in the Middle East, 1919-1936

ISBN : 9780198729310

Robert S. G. Fletcher
336 Pages
148 x 223 mm
Pub date
Feb 2015
Oxford Historical Monographs
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British Imperialism and 'The Tribal Question' reconstructs the history of Britain's presence in the deserts of the interwar Middle East, making the case for its significance to scholars of imperialism and of the region's past. It tells the story of what happened when the British Empire and Bedouin communities met on the desert frontiers between the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf. It traces the workings of the resulting practices of 'desert administration' from their origins in the wake of one World War to their eclipse after the next, as British officials, Bedouin shaykhs, and nationalist politicians jostled to influence desert affairs. Drawn to the commanding heights of political society in the region's towns and cities, historians have tended to afford frontier 'margins' merely marginal treatment. Instead, this volume combines the study of imperialism, nomads, and the desert itself to reveal the centrality of 'desert administration' to the working of Britain's empire, repositioning neglected frontier areas as nerve centres of imperial activity. British Imperialism and 'The Tribal Question' leads the shift in historians' attentions from the familiar, urban seats of power to the desert 'hinterlands' that have long been obscured.



About the author: 

Robert Fletcher grew up in Colchester, Essex, and studied Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford. Between 2005 and 2007 he worked in Tokushima, Japan, before returning to Magdalen to read for a doctorate. He has held appointments as a Research Fellow of Nuffield College, the Fleet Fellow at Princeton University, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Global History at the University of Oxford, and as Lecturer in Imperial and Global History at the University of Exeter. He joined the University of Warwick in 2015. His research combines an interest in the history of empires, nomadic peoples and desert environments in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His work on both arid and maritime frontiers has appeared in Past and Present and The English Historical Review.

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