Inspired by Hannah Arendt's discussion of the Victorian Tory politician and novelist Benjamin Disraeli as a Jew who fought back, Simone Borgstede explores the complex ways in which mid-Victorian discourses of identity and belonging were interwoven with discourses of race. To her, Disraeli's response to the antisemitism of the period led him to become convinced that race was the key to understand how society works. She traces Disraeli's use of the category of race as a pivotal idea of social difference and unpicks how race intersected in his thinking with class, culture, gender, nation, and empire. She shows how Disraeli's "one-nation-politics" was dependent on the idea of empire and how his representations of both nation and empire became based on race.
Simone Beate Borgstede studied Social Sciences at Hamburg and Essex, completed her PhD at University College London and is currently teaching at Leuphana University Lüneburg.