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BOOK TALK | Arab Patriotism – The Ideology and Culture of Power in Late Ottoman Egypt



Arab Patriotism - the Ideology and Culture or Power in Late Ottoman Egypt challenges the received narrative that Arabism in general and Egyptian territorial nationalism, in particular, emerged in opposition to the Ottoman and British Empires and primarily from below. Mestyan argues instead that early Arabic nationalist culture was produced in Dialogue with the localized Ottoman power by educated Arabs who integrated Muslim and European cultural forms in their search for political inclusion and patronage.

Based on archival research in Egypt, Turkey, France, UK and the USA, Arab Patriotism offers the first scholarly investigation of the Egyptian Khedivate, a semi-autonomous Ottoman regime type, between 1867 and 1914, a period that witnessed a global wave of monarchical restoration and reformation. The Khedivate was a uniquely hybrid polity- ruled by the Ottoman Empire and later occupied by the British- that combined dynastic and nascent nationalist interests, and spurred a range of cultural productions and practices. 

Author Bio:

Adam Mestyan is assistant professor of history at Duke University.

Adam is a historian of the modern Middle East. He is interested in the problem of government and urban history in Arab polities. His first monograph is Arab Patriotism - The Ideology and Culture of Power in Late Ottoman Egypt (Princeton University Press, 2017; order it on Amazon). Previously he taught at Oxford University and was a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University, and held a fellowship at EUME program of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Institute of Advanced Studies, Berlin). His next scheduled major publication is Magical History and Muslim Printing in Nineteenth-Century Cairo (Cairo: Ifao, 2019). His present project is entitled Modern Arab Kingship.

In addition, Mestyan has been writing essays about Islam and nationalism in the Arab world, the social transformation in the late Ottoman Empire, Arabic theater history, Eastern European Orientalism, the theory and practice of archives and the origins of the Arabic public sphere. Finally, he also supervises a digital humanities project: Jara'id - A Chronology of Nineteenth-Century Periodicals in Arabic.