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Land of Progress charts this process at work across both the Ottoman and British periods in Palestine, focusing on two of the most salient but understudied sites of development anywhere in the colonial world: the Dead Sea and Haifa. Weaving the experiences of local individuals into a wider narrative of imperial expansion and anti-colonial resistance, Norris demonstrates the widespread excitement Palestine generated among those who saw themselves at the vanguard of progress and modernisation, whether they were Ottoman or British, Arab or Jewish. Against this backdrop, Norris traces the gradual erosion during the mandate period of the mixed style of development that had prevailed under the Ottoman Empire, as the new British regime viewed Zionism as the sole motor of modernisation. As a result, the book's latter stages relate the extent to which colonial development became a central issue of contestation in the struggle for Palestine that unfolded in the 1930s and 40s.
Jacob Norris is the Randall Dillard Research Fellow at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. In 2010 he completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge on "Ideologies of Development and the British Mandate in Palestine." Jacob divides his time between Palestine/Israel where he carries out most of his research and Cambridge where he lectures and supervises on the Middle East components of the History Faculty's world history papers. His is currently working on a social history of Bethlehem in the nineteenth century, documenting the changes that occurred in the town as a result of its residents' global interactions during this period.