Today I had an epiphany in Economic History thanks to Ph.D. Isa Blumi who gave a lecture on “The Ottoman Legacy: Socio-Economic Dynamics and the Origins of Modern Politics” emphasizing the economic history of Egypt and The Ottoman Empire during the 18th. and 19th Centuries.
The first great argument was rooted in how Egypt had been already transforming its economy and society long before The Napoleonic French Campaign (1798-1801). As well, he made very clear how Napoleon’s interest in acquiring Egypt’s wheat was much more important than posing for a picture in front of the Sphinx. He explained the consequences of this invasion and the resulting liberation of Egypt by the genious of Muhammad Ali Pasha.
The epiphany to my research interest came when he localized the first modern factory 2,500 miles away from the cities of Derby, Birmingham and Manchester. Most surely, researching this argument would surely enlighten the current historiography of Economic History and establish more roots of entrepreneurial activity, innovation and mass production in the Middle East. Doing this will also disentail the roots of the creation of Wealth from the Eurocentric historigraphy that has been in fact characterized by its antipodes: mercantilism, patrimonialism and altruism.
If you are interested in learning more of this subjects here are recommended readings that Professor Blumi shared with me:
- Ariel Salzmann, “An Ancien Regime Revisited: ‘Privatization’ and Political Economy in the Eighteen-Century Ottoman Empire,” Politics & Society, Vol. 21 No. 4 (December 1993): 393-423.
- Peter Gran,Islamic Roots of Capitalism: Egypt, 1760-1840 (New edition: Syracuse University Press, 1998), first two chapters.
- Judith Tucker, “Decline of the Family Economy in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Egypt,” in The Modern Middle East, Albert Hourani et al eds., (Berkeley, 1993): 229-254.
- Akram Khater “’House’ to ‘Goddess of the House’: Gender, Class and Silk in 19th century Mt. Lebanon,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 28/3 (1996): 325-348.