Abstract

This thesis examines Britain's use of technology in developing Mesopotamia. British imaginations of Mesopotamia as Eden or El Dorado, reified by a multiplicity of travel literature,archaeological digs, and geographic societies, formed the first half of a violent dialectic that granted divine right and responsibility to the British. Instead, colonialists claimed that Mesopotamia's inhabitants squandered its primordial potential through neglect and mismanagement. These justifications fueled British attempts to develop Mesopotamia, irrigation engineers designing floodgates for the Tigris and Euphrates while agriculturalists created new strains of wheat that would flourish in its climate. But technology was more than development. It formed the foundation of a polemic leading to prolonged aerial bombardment and discipline; if modernism could resurrect the Garden, airplanes would tend and cultivate it. Therefore, the value of aircraft was not restricted to its ability for disciplining a population. Planes were physical manifestations of the British colonial project, flying articulations of the modern that sanctioned violence against the "primitive". They were the latest mechanisms to embody the narrative of English supremacy and the latest conversation topics in British high society.

Department

Middle East Studies Center

Degree Name

MA in Middle East Studies

Date of Award

2-1-2016

Online Submission Date

December 2019

First Advisor

Kazziha, Walid

Committee Member 1

Kazziha, Walid

Committee Member 2

Sherene, Seikaly

Document Type

Thesis

Extent

104 p.

Rights

The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy.

IRB

Not necessary for this item

Comments

Research grant from the Middle East Studies Center to travel to the British National Archives in Kew Gardens.

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