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Ottoman Egypt and the Emergence of the Modern World, 1500-1800

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Ottoman Egypt and the Emergence of the Modern World, 1500-1800.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Distinguished Professor Nelly Hanna(Author)

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Aiming to place Egypt clearly in the context of some of the major worldwide transformations of the three centuries from 1500 to 1800, Nelly Hanna questions the mainstream view that has identified the main sources of modern world history as the Reformation, the expansion of Europe into America and Asia, the formation of trading companies, and scientific discoveries. Recent scholarship has challenged this approach on account of its Eurocentric bias, on both the theoretical and empirical levels. Studies on India and southeast Asia, for example, reject the models of these regions as places without history, as stagnant and in decline, and as awakening only with the emergence of colonialism when they became the recipients of European culture and technology. So far, Egypt and the rest of the Ottoman world have been left out of these approaches. Nelly Hanna fills this gap by showing that there were worldwide trends that touched Egypt, India, southeast Asia, and Europe. In all these areas, for example, there were linguistic shifts that brought the written language closer to the spoken word. She also demonstrates that technology and know-how, far from being centered only in Europe, flowed in different directions: in the eighteenth century, French entrepreneurs were trying to imitate the techniques of bleaching and dyeing of cloth that they found in Egypt and other Ottoman localities.Based on a series of lectures given at the Middle East Center at Harvard, this groundbreaking book will be of interest to all those looking for a different perspective on the history of south-north relations.

Nelly Hanna is distinguished university professor in the Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations at the American University in Cairo. She is the author of a number of books including Society and Economy in Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean 1600-1900 (AUC Press, 2005) and Artisan Entrepreneurs in Cairo and Early Modern Capitalism 1600-1800 (AUC Press, 2011).

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Review Text

  • By docread on 2 June 2015

    Amateurish poorly researched and badly written book claiming great transfers of dyeing and bleaching techniques ( irritatingly referred to in the text as know-how) from Ottoman Egypt to Europe during the 17/18th century. The author then concludes that Ottoman Egypt was at the forefront of new technical developments that inspired Europe and not a backwater in the global economy as the Napoleon French expedition discovered.It makes one cringe at the poor development of arguments and the paucity and irrelevant evidence the author barely marshals to sustain her thesis.It reads more like a propagandist pamphlet aiming to indoctrinate some impressionable undergraduates by asserting that the textile industry and prevalent techniques used in the Ottoman lands were far superior than any in Europe. The Indian cotton industry was certainly quite advanced and its exports dominated the world market. Indian textiles were imported to Egypt through Jiddah on the Red Sea. No Egyptian manufactured goods were exported as the quality of craftsmanship and productivity amongst the textile workers in Egypt was in profound decline as witnessed by a number of European travellers and local Consuls.Andre Raymond the great French historian of Cairo during the Ottoman period confirms the mediocrity and stagnation of techniques and low productivity for three and a half centuries in the textile industry.What does it say about the author of a book who signs herself as "distinguished Professor" ?


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