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Colonising Egypt

Colonising Egypt: With a new preface

Copyright Date: 1988
Pages: 230
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  • Book Info
    Colonising Egypt
    Book Description:

    Extending deconstructive theory to historical and political analysis, Timothy Mitchell examines the peculiarity of Western conceptions of order and truth through a re-reading of Europe's colonial encounter with nineteenth-century Egypt.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-91166-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of illustrations
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. Preface to the Paperback Edition
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. Chapter 1 Egypt at the exhibition
    (pp. 1-33)

    The Egyptian delegation to the Eighth International Congress of Orientalists, held in Stockholm in the summer of 1889, travelled to Sweden via Paris and paused there to visit the World Exhibition. The four Egyptians spent several days in the French capital, climbing twice the height (as they reported) of the Great Pyramid in Alexandre Eiffel’s new tower, and exploring the city laid out beneath. They visited the carefully planned parks and pavilions of the exhibition, and examined the merchandise and machinery on display. Amid this order and splendour there was only one thing that disturbed them. The Egyptian exhibit had...

  7. Chapter 2 Enframing
    (pp. 34-62)

    In the second quarter of the nineteenth century the people of Egypt were made inmates of their own villages. A government ordinance of January 1830 confined them to their native districts, and required them to seek a permit and papers of identification if they wished to travel outside. ‘It was scarcely possible’, we are told, ‘for a fellah to pass from one village to another without a written passport.’ The village was to be run like a barracks, its inhabitants placed under the surveillance of guards night and day, and under the supervision of inspectors as they cultivated the land...

  8. Chapter 3 An appearance of order
    (pp. 63-94)

    In the winter of 1867–68 Ali Mubarak, an accomplished Egyptian administrator, teacher and engineer, travelled to Paris on financial business for the Egyptian government, and to visit the Exposition Universelle. He stayed several weeks, as he later described in some detail, studying the new Parisian systems of education and of sewerage. He examined the buildings, the books, and the curricula of the new schools, and walked with other visitors along the enormous tunnels of the sewage system built beneath the boulevards of Haussmann’s new city. On his return to Egypt he was appointed Minister of Schools and Minister of...

  9. Chapter 4 After we have captured their bodies
    (pp. 95-127)

    In his bookRecognizing Islam, Michael Gilsenan cites from the report of a French military officer in Algeria, on an insurrection put down by his troops in 1845–46. To establish political authority over a population, wrote the officer, there are two modes, one of suppression and one of tutoring. The latter is long-term and works upon the mind, the former works upon the body and must come first.

    In effect the essential thing is to gather into groups this people which is everywhere and nowhere; the essential thing is to make them something we can seize hold of. When...

  10. Chapter 5 The machinery of truth
    (pp. 128-160)

    The bombardment of Alexandria, we are told by an Englishman who witnessed from a ship at sea the event that had initiated the colonial occupation of Egypt,

    commenced on Tuesday, July 11, 1882 at seven o’clock in the morning. From where theTanjorewas anchored we could see the whole thing quite clearly through our glasses. To a civilian who had never seen warfare the spectacle was magnificent.¹

    Within two days most of Alexandria was turned to rubble and ash. How far its destruction was due to the British bombardment and how far to the local inhabitants who responded by...

  11. Chapter 6 The philosophy of the thing
    (pp. 161-179)

    Marshal Lyautey was the colonial governor of French-occupied Morocco during the early part of the twentieth century. Near the end of his period in power, on the occasion of the opening of the Casablanca–Rabat Standard Gauge Railway, Lyautey led a group of French engineers and journalists on a tour of Rabat, the newly built colonial capital. The writer André Maurois was among the guests and he recorded the Marshal’s words, words which can introduce the conclusions I want to draw in this final chapter.

    ‘I shall explain to you the philosophy of the thing’, Lyautey began, as they got...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 180-207)
  13. Select bibliography
    (pp. 208-213)
  14. Index
    (pp. 214-218)