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Title: A comparison of Al Qassim viewed through British eyes and local sources, 1862-1918
Author: Alreshoodi, Abdulmohsen Saleh A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 6030
Awarding Body: Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2019
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In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, serious travels were made to the Arabia Peninsula by British travellers. Travellers included informal travellers and political envoys sent by the British Empire. The different Western travellers to East looked at the Orientals through their own point of views. Their travelogues were the only source of information available to the West about life in the East and the endeavours of the people therein. The travel writings of the western travellers and their motivations (in both travelling and writing) led to their works being appraised and critiqued by different theorists. Some criticized the Western travellers for their dubious motivations and theorised that all the travellers who visited the East and the Arabia Peninsula in particular, were motivated by political incentives and operated on their political agendas rather than personal objectives. My argument here is this we cannot ignore all of the historical contributions of the British travellers and their writings on the basis of a generalization. Therefore, this history study is focused on the British travellers and their underlying objectives in travelling and writing. The tactical and methodological choices made by the individual writers led to intelligence collection in the Arabian Peninsula and this, in turn, led them towards identifying different historical realities and truths according to their perspectives of observation. This thesis is focused on the informal travellers and political envoys who travelled to Al Qassim and the heart of Najd. It primarily aims to show how the Orient was viewed by these travellers; whether they provided truths and reality about the Orient to their readers or whether their writings were directed and overshadowed by their ideology of racial superiority and imperialist dogma. The thesis argues that while a majority of the western travellers presented more of their personal ideologies with regard to non-Europeans (as West vs. East), not all of them were engaged in expressing their own racial superiority. Rather, some presented the 'true reality' of the people of Arabia. This is because their writings were closer to what the local sources reported. Additionally, this thesis reveals what the contribution of the British travellers to Al Qassim history is. This historical study traces the political, social and economic development of the people of Al Qassim and argues that the nature of their travel writings depended on their personal incentives, duration of their stay in individual locations and the time of their travel. It further provides a comprehensive, in-depth insight to the political envoys and their intelligence projects which determined the imperial state of the British Empire. By methodical examination of travel writings with the local sources of Al Qassim, this thesis adds significant value to the existent limited understanding of the Orient and provides evidence that contradicts the unwavering proclamations of generalizations that have hitherto prevailed with regard to the entirety of the Western travellers. The study traces the political, social and economic development of the people of Al Qassim that contribute in Al Qassim socioeconomic and political historiography during the specific period of time. This study exhibits how the British informal travellers and political envoys viewed Al Qassim and the underlying motivations behind their writings. It also determines whether their personal ideologies reflected the racial superiority of their having a European background. The research also addresses the gap in identifying the historical truths and "realities" of Al Qassim by critical, descriptive and comparative analyses of the information from a new perspective, i.e. comparing the writings of British travellers with those of the local sources of Al Qassim. The selection of the sources that are subjected to my in-depth analysis within this thesis was based on the relativism ontological position that I took within this research, as well as the interpretivism epistemological position that I took with regard to interpreting the realties contained within the different sources. The coherentist theory of justification is also used in this research to justify the truths and realities from the different sources with my own beliefs. Cumulatively this enables the thesis to make a unique contribution towards knowledge enhancement. As three types of the sources are used in this research to contribute rich knowledge on the socioeconomic and political history of Al Qassim, (British envoys, British travellers and local sources), descriptive, critical and comparative qualitative analysis is also used to analyse the data from the diverse sources. The study comprehensively utilised the theory of justification with regard to realities, truth, and beliefs that contribute rich historiography on socioeconomic and political histography of the region.
Supervisor: Wiliam, Mari Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Al Qassim ; travellers ; envoys ; local sources -social, cultural, political