Chapter

My House and Yours: Egyptian State Servants and the New Geography of Nationalism

Lisa Pollard

in Nurturing the Nation

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780520240223
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937536 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520240223.003.0002
My House and Yours: Egyptian State Servants and the New Geography of Nationalism

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Travel literature is what Egyptian's state has produced through its mission to modernize and strengthen its institutions, and to create a new attitude toward the world outside of it. Through this mission, the state institutionalized, sanctioned, and funded the practice of knowing the West. The nineteenth century was not the first time that Egyptians had ventured outside their own country. What was distinct about this new travel literature was the ways in which the West culture was ultimately used by the state and its servants to locate Egypt in the Valhalla of the modern. Mastery of the ideologies and institutions in Egypt led to explorations of Western institutions that were often as penetrating as European travel stories. The result of projects designed to capture the West and its institutions for the state made civil servants unwitting voyagers to hitherto-unexplored terrains. Many of them explored without leaving Egypt, while some of them actually ventured abroad in search of new fields of knowledge through which modern Egypt would later be constructed.

Keywords: Western institutions; Egypt; culture; travel; mission

Chapter.  13903 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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