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James Renton

James Renton

I am interested in racism, especially antisemitism and Islamophobia; Empire; and the genealogy of global politics. My research focuses on European ideas of the Jew, the Arab, and the West; post-secularism; British and French colonialism in the Jewish and Middle Eastern worlds; the First World War and its afterlives; the Zionist-Palestinian conflict; the League of Nations Mandate system; the West and the Middle East relationship; and the political public sphere in the colonial world after 1914.

My first book, The Zionist Masquerade: The Birth of the Anglo-Zionist Alliance, 1914-1918 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), was a new history of the Balfour Declaration. Placing the Declaration within the wider story of the global politics of race and nationalism in the Great War, the book put forward a new interpretation of its origins, purpose and significance.

I am currently writing a biography of the idea of the Middle East, for which I was awarded an Early Career Fellowship by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. With Ben Gidley (COMPAS, Oxford), I am also co-editing a book on antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe, from the Crusades to the 21st century.

Outside of the academic world, I have written for Ha’aretz, openDemocracy, The Conversation, The Jewish Quarterly and Teaching History, and regularly give public talks. On television, I have featured in programmes including ‘Al-Nakba: The Debate’, which focused on the British role in the history of the Zionist-Palestinian conflict, ‘World War I through Arab Eyes- Episode 3: The New Middle East‘, and ‘The Grand Mufti’, a documentary about the Palestinian leader Muhammed Amin al-Husayni.

I am a committee member of the British Association for Jewish Studies, an Honorary Senior Research Associate in the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University College London, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. I am also a member of the History & Policy Network, and the chair of ErRS: the Ethnicity, Race, and Racism Seminar at Edge Hill. In 2015, I organised the ErRS symposium ‘Islamophobia and Surveillance: Genealogies of a Global Order’.

The post-colonial caliphate: Islamic State and the memory of Sykes-Picot

Feb 24, 2016 08:59 am UTC| Insights & Views

Since announcing its arrival as a global force in June 2014 with the declaration of a caliphate on territory captured in Iraq and Syria, jihadist group Islamic State has shocked the world with its brutality. Our series...

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