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‘All is Race.’ An analysis of Disraeli on race, nation and empire

Borgstede, S.B.; (2010) ‘All is Race.’ An analysis of Disraeli on race, nation and empire. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis explores the ways in which the Victorian Tory politician and novelist Benjamin Disraeli developed his own racial thinking. In response to the anti-Semitism of the period he became convinced that race was the key to understand how society worked. The thesis traces his use of the category of race as a key axis of social difference and how race intersected in his thinking with class, culture, gender and nation and empire. It analyses his development of a one-nation-politics discussing his social criticism and his focus on those who were marginal to the mid-Victorian nation – working-class men, the Irish and women. The thesis demonstrates how in his attempt to integrate the Irish into this unified nation he increasingly came to categorise their militant separatism as the cause of Ireland’s misery. It investigates his conception of the politics of empire and how it was bound together with his one-nation vision and it outlines the ways in which his doctrine of race legitimated his imperial interventions. Drawing on all available sources of Disraeli’s thought, the thesis is a historically embedded discourse analysis that utilizes methods from political history, social and cultural history, biographical approaches and cultural studies. It treats novels, letters and parliamentary speeches as well as other political and social interventions as differently constituted and situated discourses which need to be understood as distinct and sometimes contradictory entities which nevertheless form a whole. Inspired by Hannah Arendt’s discussion of Disraeli as a Jew who fought back this thesis explores the complex ways in which mid-Victorian discourses of identity and belonging were interwoven with discourses of race.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:‘All is Race.’ An analysis of Disraeli on race, nation and empire
Language:English
Additional information:Authorisation for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > History

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