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Title: Between Empire and Nation: The Emergence of Egypt's Libyan Borderland, 1841-1911
Authors: Ellis, Matthew Hal
Advisors: Greene, Molly
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: Borderlands
Ottoman Empire
Subjects: Middle Eastern history
Middle Eastern studies
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: "Between Empire and Nation" provides a spatial history of Egypt's western borderland in order to illuminate the Egyptian nation-state as a work-in-progress in the decades prior to World War I. It argues that state and nation did not come fully formed to Egypt's western domains, but rather emerged only gradually as the result of a complex and ongoing process of contestation and negotiation between an array of state and non-state actors along the borderland, each harnessing their own distinct sovereign capabilities. This interpretation challenges long-standing historiographical and nationalist assumptions about Egypt's geographical stability and legibility, which have served to conceal the set of remarkably fraught, fluid and tentative processes through which Egypt was constituted as a modern territorial nation-state. To illustrate these themes, this dissertation highlights several overlapping layers of interactivity--between different states engaged in the region, as well as between state and society--that coalesced to transform Egypt's western domains into a contested borderland. In the first two chapters, it demonstrates the role that key local actors--most notably the Sanusiyya Brotherhood--played in mediating various centralizing projects undertaken by the Egyptian state in the region. The third chapter focuses on the activities of the Khedive Abbas Hilmi II in Siwa as a means to explore the complex interplay between various competing marks of sovereignty in the borderland. The final two chapters chart the emergence of a clearer sense of "borderedness" between two distinct political spheres in the region, even despite the sustained lack of any clear territorial definition. This transformation was, again, animated by processes of negotiation and contestation--between the Ottomans, Egyptians, and Italians, and between these state actors and the various Bedouin tribes who inhabited the borderland. Drawing on a range of archival materials from the state archives in Istanbul, Cairo, Rome, and London--as well as the underutilized private papers of Abbas Hilmi II--this dissertation examines the case of Egypt's western borderland as a means to address broader historical debates about the nature of nation-state space, borderland society, and overlapping scales of sovereignty and political authority.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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