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Ottoman Egypt and the Emergence of the Modern World

Ottoman Egypt and the Emergence of the Modern World: 1500–1800

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Ottoman Egypt and the Emergence of the Modern World
    Book Description:

    Based on the Hamilton A.R. Gibb Lectures given by Nelly Hanna at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies of Harvard University, this groundbreaking book will be of interest to all those looking for a different perspective on the history of south–north relations. Aiming to place Egypt clearly in the context of some of the major worldwide transformations of the three centuries from 1500 to 1800, Professor Hanna questions the mainstream view that has identified the main sources of modern world history as the Reformation, the expansion of Europe into America and Asia, the formation of trading companies, and scientific discoveries. She adds to the debate by showing that there were worldwide trends that touched Egypt, India, southeast Asia, and Europe: in all these areas, for example, there were linguistic shifts that brought the written language closer to the spoken word. She also demonstrates that technology and know-how, far from being centered only in Europe, flowed in different directions: for instance, in the eighteenth century, French entrepreneurs were trying to imitate the techniques of bleaching and dyeing of cloth that they found in Egypt and other Ottoman localities.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-634-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. 1 Egypt from 1600 to 1800: Between Local and Global
    (pp. 1-30)

    The mainstream textbooks about modern world history have for a long time described the three centuries from 1500 to 1800 as a dynamic period that was the basis for the emergence of the modern world. Their narratives focus on some of the important scientific, cultural, and economic developments that took place during these centuries. Among these the most important were the Renaissance and the Reformation, which ushered in scientific and intellectual inquiry; the technological advances that opened the way for the Industrial Revolution; the Scientific Revolution, which was brought about by the discoveries by great thinkers like Copernicus (d. 1543),...

  5. 2 Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-century Texts: Language, Scholarly in Form
    (pp. 31-66)

    This chapter explores a phenomenon that developed in seventeenth-century Egypt: the emergence of many written texts that combine more than one language register, namely classical Arabic and the colloquial. Linguists call this language register that combines the classical and the spoken language or the vernacular and includes elements of both of these ‘Middle Arabic.’ These texts in Middle Arabic tended to include parts in standard Arabic and parts in a language close to the spoken word or at times substandard language. Middle Arabic has a long history, since it is used in some of the earliest papyrus texts, but during...

  6. 3 Eighteenth-century Textile Artisans and Guilds and the World Economy
    (pp. 67-94)

    In keeping with the theme of this book, the present chapter considers the role of artisans and guilds in Egypt in the context of world history during the period from 1500 to 1800. It addresses the question whether we can consider guilds and artisans as part of this history or if they were ‘outside history,’ that is in a stationary state, autonomous, and unaffected by what was going on elsewhere. At a time when world commerce and world markets were expanding and when the world was becoming more interconnected, when these broad transformations were taking place on a global level,...

  7. 4 Artisans, Spies, and Manufacturers: Eighteenth-century Transfers of Technology from the Ottoman Empire to France
    (pp. 95-126)

    The nineteenth century witnessed a transfer of science and technology from Europe to other parts of the world. The introduction of railways, steamships, banks, telegraphs, hotels and tourist companies, numerous tools and machines—all these innovations changed the face of many cities in the non-European world. Coming at a time of growing European control of various parts of the world, these transfers were accompanied by a hegemonic discourse on the benefits that science and technology, with the material progress that accompanied them, could bring to ‘backward’ societies. They were associated with the ‘civilizing role’ of colonialism, the main agency in...

  8. 5 Epilogue
    (pp. 127-130)

    Colonial histories have tended to distort the history of the so-called ‘Third World’ countries during the period prior to their colonization, developing a particular lens through which these histories were written. By removing this lens, one can propose a different way of seeing history. This book is an attempt to try out a paradigm that allows us to rethink the history of Egypt during the crucial period that preceded European penetration. It offers an alternative to the decline paradigm, which for a long time dominated historical studies of this period.

    For Egypt, as for many parts of the world, the...

  9. Dating System of the French Revolution
    (pp. 131-132)
  10. Notes
    (pp. 133-156)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 157-178)
  12. Index
    (pp. 179-186)