Abstract

In May of 1921 Alexandria was consumed by demonstrations against the British-backed Adly Cabinet. In a matter of days these protests developed into violence which targeted people based on perceived communal affiliation. In total, 88 people were killed and 238 were wounded. Through a detailed examination of this communal and political violence, a moment that has largely be left out of the Egyptian historical narrative, I provide a greater understanding of how the complex dynamics of identity and power operated in Alexandrian society in this crucial period in the formation of the narrative of Egyptian identity. Utilizing a variety of primary and secondary sources, I use this moment to complicate both the romantic cosmopolitan narrative which has dominated much of Alexandrian historiography and the anti-colonialist narrative of 1950s nationalism. The cosmopolitan narrative is flawed because it ignores or celebrates the inherently exploitative colonial structure of early twentieth century Egypt and, as I show using court records, relies on simplistic understandings of identity in Alexandrian society. Many anti-colonial narratives rely on similarly simplistic understandings of identity. Ultimately the goal of this thesis is to use a specific incident to explore and complicate the dominant narratives of the historiography of Alexandria.

Department

Arab & Islamic Civilizations Department

Degree Name

MA in Arabic Studies

Date of Award

2-1-2014

Online Submission Date

November 2014

First Advisor

Reimer, Michael

Committee Member 1

Han, Nelly

Committee Member 2

Seikaly, Sherene

Document Type

Thesis

Extent

111 p.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Cosmopolitanism -- Egypt -- Alexandria -- 20th century.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Commulism -- Egypt -- Alexandria -- 20th century.

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

Supported by a fellowship from the American University in Cairo

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