Dr James Renton

Reader in History
Dept of English and History
Main Building, Room C7
01695 657254
james.renton@edgehill.ac.uk
@RentonJE


Biography

I am interested in the history of race, especially antisemitism and Islamophobia, empire, and the intellectual history of global politics. My work is focused on the colonial history of the systemic conflict inherent in the West-Middle East relationship, and the intersection of ideas and power that sustain it.

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 monograph on the British imperial idea of the Middle East and its consequences, for which I have been awarded an Early Career Fellowship by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and a Jean Monnet Fellowship at the European University Institute in Florence (2016-2017). With Ben Gidley (Birkbeck), I am also co-editing Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe: A Shared Story? (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming, 2016).

Outside of the academic world, I have written for Ha’aretz, openDemocracy, The Conversation, and Middle East Monitor, 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, 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’.

I welcome enquiries from prospective research students. Each year, Edge Hill awards a limited number of PhD/Teaching Assistant studentships. Please contact me for further information.

Teaching

My teaching currently focuses on British imperial history; antisemitism and Islamophobia; violence and the idea of the Middle East; and the colonial origins of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Publications

Co-ed. with Ben Gidley, Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe: A Shared Story? (Palgrave Macmillan, pbk, forthcoming).

‘The End of the Semites’, in James Renton and Ben Gidley (eds) Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe: A Shared Story? (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming).

With Ben Gidley, ‘Introduction- Europe’s Ideas of the Muslim and the Jew: A Diachronic Framework’, in James Renton and Ben Gidley (eds), Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe: A Shared Story? (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming).

‘The Shared Story of Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism’, Interview, ProMosaik/MintPress News, 22 June 2016.

‘Europe’s Undeclared War on Islam’, Middle East Monitor, 8 March 2016.

‘The Post-Colonial Caliphate: Islamic State and the Memory of Sykes-Picot’, The Conversation (Australia), 23 Feb. 2016/’Décrypter Daech : le califat et le spectre des accords Sykes-Picot’, The Conversation (France), 4 Mar. 2016.

‘Why is Europe Desperate to Spy on its Muslims?’, openDemocracy, 23 September 2015.

‘The West’s War Against Palestinian ‘Extremism’ is Doomed to Fail‘, The Conversation, 3 August 2014.

‘The Age of Nationality and the Origins of the Zionist-Palestinian Conflict’, The International History Review, Vol. 35, No. 3 (2013), pp. 576-599.

‘Should Britain Apologize for the Balfour Declaration?‘, Ha’aretz, 29 April 2013. Hebrew edition, 19 May 2013.

‘Yad Chaim Weizmann and the Westernness of Israel’, Jewish Historical Studies, Vol. 44 (2012), pp. 27-50.

British Pan-Arab Policy, 1915-1922: A Critical Appraisal by Isaiah Friedman’(review), Israel Studies, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Spring 2012), pp. 180-183.

‘Moses Montefiore: Jewish Liberator, Imperial Hero by Abigail Green’ (review), Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, Vol. 11, No. 2 (2012), pp. 291-293.

‘Palestine’s UN Bid: Lessons from the History of Zionism‘, openDemocracy, 21 September 2011.

‘Interpreting the Balfour Declaration: A Marriage of History and Politics?’, Teaching History, 143 (June 2011), pp. 50-51.

‘Jerusalem: From the Ottomans to the British by Roberto Mazza’, (review) Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. 73, No. 3 (Oct. 2010), pp. 538-540.

‘WikiLeaks: Imperial Precedent‘, openDemocracy, 21st December 2010.

‘Flawed Foundations: The Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate’, in R. Miller (ed.), Britain, Palestine and Empire: The Mandate Years (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010), pp. 15-37.

‘Forgotten Lessons: Palestine and the British Empire’, openDemocracy, 19 March 2010.

‘Churchill’s Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft by Michael Makovsky’, (review) Diplomacy & Statecraft, Vol. 19, No. 2 (2008), pp. 367-369.

The Zionist Masquerade: The Birth of the Anglo-Zionist Alliance, 1914-1918 (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). Longlisted for the 2009 Longman/History Today Book of the Year Prize.

‘Changing Languages of Empire and the Orient: Britain and the Invention of the Middle East, 1917-1918’, The Historical Journal, 50, 3 (Sept. 2007), pp.645-667.

‘Reconsidering Chaim Weizmann and Moses Gaster in the Founding Mythology of Zionism,’ in Michael Berkowitz (ed.), Nationalism, Zionism and Ethnic Mobilization of the Jews in 1900 and Beyond (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2004), pp.129-152.

‘A Broken Trust: Herbert Samuel, Zionism and the Palestinians by Sahar Huneidi’, (review) Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Spring 2003), pp. 197-200.

‘The Israel/Palestine Question edited by Ilan Pappé’, (review) The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms, Vol. 7, No. 2 (2002), pp. 261-263.

‘The Middle East and Europe: The Power Deficit edited by B.A. Roberson’, (review) The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms, Vol. 7, No. 1 (2002), pp. 139-141.

‘Between Memory and Desire: The Middle East in a Troubled Age by R. Stephen Humphreys’, (review) The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms, Vol. 6, No. 6 (2001), pp. 857-859.

‘Science, Jews, and Secular Culture by David A. Hollinger’, (review) The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms, Vol. 6, No. 4 (2001), pp. 559-561.

‘The Historiography of the Balfour Declaration: Toward a Multi-Causal Framework,’ The Journal of Israeli History, 19, 2 ([published 2000] 1998), pp. 109-129.

Edge Hill University Researh Archive: http://repository.edgehill.ac.uk/view/creators/1394.html

Media & Public Talks

 

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