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Title:Negotiating modernity: education and translation in nineteenth century Egypt
Author(s):Prakash, Archana G.
Director of Research:Cuno, Kenneth M.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Cuno, Kenneth M.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Ghamari-Tabrizi, Behrooz; Prochaska, David; El Shakry, Omnia; Kalmbach, Hilary
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
19th century
Abstract:Between the French and British occupations, Muhammad Ali Pasha (r. 1805-48) and his successors ruled Egypt as an autonomous Ottoman province. In order to establish and maintain that autonomy from both Ottoman and European imperial interests, Muhammad Ali sought European technical expertise to aid in the rapid modernization of the country – reorganizing the military, building new infrastructure, and reforming the civil service. Establishing a state-of-the- art education system was fundamental to this process, and yet it remains a neglected subject in contemporary historical scholarship on the modernization project initiated under Pasha’s rule. The dissertation focuses on two institutions that served as the original sites where European knowledge was transmitted and translated: the first student missions to France (1826-49) and the School of Languages in Cairo (1836-51). Using archival documents, correspondence, and published records in both French and Arabic, it uncovers the complicated mediations integral to the acquisition of this expertise through the missions, in the context of defensive modernization against European encroachment. The dissertation further explores how those educated in the student missions used their experiences to choose and localize useful knowledge. It also traces the ways in which Egyptians envisioned a hybridized government and religious education system by advocating for this new knowledge in educational practice and intellectual life through an examination of debates published in the first Egyptian educational journal Rawdat al-Madaris al-Misriyya (The Garden of the Egyptian Schools). By investigating the role played by those in favor of the inclusion of indigenized European knowledge, it highlights the implications of early nineteenth century Egyptian experiments with education on larger literary, religious, philosophical, and political trends in the Middle East in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
Issue Date:2016-11-17
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Archana Prakash
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-03-01
Date Deposited:2016-12

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