Joshua Mabie

Position title: UW System Fellow (2016-2017)

English, UW-Whitewater

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Nineteenth-Century American Writing and the Desolation of the Holy Land

Amongst many scholars, policy makers, and members of the general public the notion of Palestine’s nineteenth-century barrenness and desolation is common knowledge, yet nineteenth-century scholars and travel writers painted a more nuanced and complex picture of the region. Joshua’s project examines the development of the narrative of Holy Land desolation. He asks what ordinary Americans knew of the environmental condition of Palestine in the nineteenth-century, how the notion of Holy Land desolation lodged so firmly in Americans’ collective memory, and what pressure the narrative of desolation exerts on the region’s environmental and political problems today. He looks for answers to these questions in overlooked works of nineteenth-century Holy Land geography and in the literary bestsellers, Sunday School teaching materials, bible dictionaries, and annotated bibles that communicated this scholarship to broad popular audiences.

Joshua Mabie is Assistant Professor of English at UW-Whitewater, where he also completed a three-year term as the university’s Faculty Sustainability Fellow. His recent scholarship has appeared in Christianity and Literature, The Edinburgh Companion to T.S. Eliot and the Arts, and Transatlantic Literary Ecologies: Nature and Culture in the Nineteenth-Century Anglophone Atlantic World. In addition to his critical work, Mabie is working on a creative nonfiction book about his hometown, Stoughton, Wisconsin, that combines, nature writing, environmental history, and memoir.