Chapter

Ghurbāl’s School: <i>1930–1952</i>

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/9780520257320.003.0006
Ghurbāl’s School: 1930–1952

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This chapter addresses the following question: What makes Ghurbāl the doyen of Egyptian historiography? It presents two major arguments. First, the academic school of writing continued royal historiography in terms of its focus, assumptions, methods of work, style of writing, institutions, and, most important, its general historiographical and political orientation. Second, gradually, albeit continually, Ghurbāl and his disciples consciously replicated the academic standards of the Ābdīn project and formed a school that regarded itself as professional. Over time, they developed an ideology of professionalism that distinguished them from populist/amateur historians. A major component of this new ideology was their insistence on vigorous archival research as the only way to discover “truth in history.” Operating against the background of a concurrent dramatic increase in the writing of popular historiography, they developed a specific notion of historical objectivity that strengthened their claim to expert authority. By the 1940s, the academic school appeared as the only group of history writers with a strong ethical commitment.

Keywords: Egyptian history; Egyptian historiography; Ābdīn project; archival research; academic school; historical objectivity

Chapter.  14546 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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