Chapter

The ‘Ābdīn House of Records: The 1920s

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520257320.003.0004
The ‘Ābdīn House of Records: The 1920s

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This chapter focuses on the Ābdīn archive and the true nature and scope of the project. The project lasted more than twenty-five years and involved a host of foreign archivists, philologists, and historians. Undeniably colonial in essence, the royal project introduced to Egyptian historiography three complementary elements. First, substantiating the “founder paradigm,” it set the criteria for what constituted “proper historical knowledge” with regard to modern Egypt. Then, it disseminated the assumption that, both physically and epistemologically, there could be no valid historical evidence outside the archive (which systematically excluded Ottoman and subaltern pasts). Finally, it introduced the concepts of scientific objectivity and expert authority.

Keywords: Egyptian history; Egyptian historiography; archive; founder paradigm; modern Egypt

Chapter.  22535 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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