"Never one to shy away from controversy, Peter Gran invites us to wrestle with his fundamental criticism of the way his peers have approached the writing of modern Egyptian history, while calling a new generation to break with a stultifying 'Oriental despotism' paradigm."—Robert Vitalis, author of America's Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier
"Readers will benefit from Gran’s extensive knowledge of Egyptian history and the historiography of Anglo-America involvement in the country and the broader region."—Osamah Khalil, author of America’s Dream Palace: Middle East Expertise and the Rise of the National Security State
"An important contribution to the history of knowledge about the Middle East."—Nelly Hanna, author of Artisan Entrepreneurs in Cairo and Early Modern Capitalism
"Every historian of modern Egypt will want to read this lively study, which traces the persistence of what Gran calls the Oriental despotism paradigm in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Anglo-American histories written about the country."—Heather J. Sharkey, author of A History of Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the Middle East
Why is the 1798 Napoleonic invasion of Egypt routinely accepted as a watershed moment between premodern and modern in general histories on the Middle East? Although decades of scholarship, most-notably Edward Said’s Orientalism, have critiqued traditional binaries of developed and undeveloped in Arab studies, the narrative of 1798 symbolizing the coming of the modern west to the rescue of the static east endures. Peter Gran’s The Persistence of Orientalism is the first book to take stock of this dominant paradigm, interrogating its origins and the ways in which scholarship is produced to perpetuate it.
Gran surveys the history of American studies of Modern Egypt, examining three central issues: the periodization of modern professional knowledge in the US in the 1890s, the contemporary identity of orientalism and its critique, and the close connection between Oriental Despotism and the dominant formulation of American identity found in American Studies and in American life. Reinvigorating the conversation on the historiography of modern Egypt, this volume will influence a new generation of scholars studying the Middle East and beyond.
Peter Gran is professor of history at Temple University. He is author of several books including Islamic Roots of Capitalism: Egypt, 1760-1840.
6 x 9, 232 pages