This essay locates Palestine in the African-American global imaginary from 1850–1948. During this period more than a dozen African Americans published travel accounts detailing their exploration of Palestine. The travel narratives reveal that Palestine was an ambivalent geography for African Americans; it was rendered through what Edward Said called orientalism while also identified as an important scene of emancipation and exodus. Moreover, during this long period of history, colonial rule over Palestine changed, as did racial politics within the Occident. Thus at various moments, African-Americans wrote as orientalists, territorial Zionists, and Pan-Africanists. Attending to the complexities of African-American writing about Palestine shows how colonialism structures Diasporic thought, while also revealing previously ignored routes linking African Americans to the Arab/Islamic world.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cultural Studies
- Sociology and Political Science