Mohammad Sakhnini

Department: English Literature
Discipline: English

Project Summary

My PhD thesis examines the various configurations of the eighteenth-century cult of improvement, arguing that such configurations are embedded in the cultural history of travel published in the period. The relationship between the cult of improvement and the travel text would establish the crux of the argument in this thesis. Nowhere the mode of writing improvement is better revealed than in the narratives of travel which flooded the print culture during the eighteenth century, this thesis seeks to show. First, the travel writers of the period posits the ideology of improvement as a medium through which they forge a modern travelling persona whose excursions and adventures abroad provide her with the tools through which she can make sense of the spatial and historical differences or similarities between home and abroad and also between the now and then, the present and the past. The question of whether the modern age in Britain is progressive or regressive might be better negotiated when the British travelling subject finds herself in a foreign space in which the inhabitants might or might not be living in a modern or an improved age—according to the eighteenth-century British norms of improvement. Second, the discourse of improvement allows the readers to find out whether the travel book they are reading posits travel as a practise through which the traveller seeks self-improvement whilst outside the home country. The discourse of improvement as shown in the narratives of mobility published during the century is thus an engaging series of tropes through which the travel writer, the travelling subject and also the reader of travel accounts are constantly in a state of dialogue and interaction.

Authored Publications/Reports

Mohammad Sakhnini (11th April 2014) “Rethinking Contemporary Media: recalling the past and mobilising hope for the future”, Your-Middle East,

Mohammad Sakhnini () “A Palestinian in Syria and Britain” in Being Palestinian: Personal Reflections on Palestinian Identity in Diaspora. Ed. Yasir Suleiman ([Forthcoming] Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015).

Mohammad Sakhnini (19th March 2014) “Rethinking Contemporary Media: recalling the past and mobilising hope for the future”, The Outpost , 04, 145-146

Mohammad Sakhnini (October 2011) John Carmichael's and Abraham Parsons' Journeys from Aleppo to Basra: Scientific and Commercial Views on the Discourse of Travel, The Arab World Geographer , 4 (2011), 371-386

Mohammad Sakhnni (July 2013) Walking, telling and resisting in Raja Shehadeh's Palestinian Walks, Settle Colonial Studies ,

Mohammad Sakhnini (25th October 2013) The Root of the Syrian-Iraqi Question, Open Democracy- Your Middle East,,

Mohammad Sakhnini (October 2014) “Travels in the Desert of Arabia: a pluralised view on the Enlightenment discourse of improvement”, The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing, 15: 2 (2014), 42-62.