Talking History: 1906–1920

Yoav Di Capua

in Gatekeepers of the Arab Past

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257320
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944817 | DOI:
Talking History: 1906–1920

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This chapter covers the era that stretches from the beginning of the twentieth century to the 1919 nationalist revolution. This allegedly incoherent era, which was neither fully Ottoman nor entirely nationalist, witnessed the apex of a powerful process of de-Ottomanization, during which the outdated Egyptian–Ottoman elite was Arabized and Egyptianized. It is argued that this process was propelled forward by a series of linguistic and semantic constructs that created a strong theoretical dependency among nationalism, modernity, and history writing. Aiming toward building an elaborate system of political modernity, a full-fledged semantic field created the theoretical infrastructure of this system and conditioned what could be thought and apprehended at any given time. Thus, this semantic field organized ideas about authority, sovereignty, public and private spheres of political action, jurisdictional structures, citizenship, and other crucial aspects of political modernity. Structurally biased against monarchic rule, colonial domination, and Ottomanism in general, it automatically privileged a republican order of popular sovereignty.

Keywords: Egyptian history; Egyptian historiography; nationalist revolution; nationalism; modernity; history writing; popular sovereignty

Chapter.  11502 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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