Middle East Studies
English edition  
September  2011
440 pp.
48 b/w photographs 
15X23 cm
ISBN 9789774164231
For sale only in the Middle East


Working Out Egypt

Effendi Masculinity and Subject Formation in Colonial Modernity, 1870-1940 Wilson Chacko Jacob

A new interpretation of nationalism and masculinity in twentieth-century Egypt

This rich cultural history of the formation of an Egyptian national subject in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth is also a compelling critique of modern Middle Eastern historiography. Wilson Jacob argues that during British colonial rule (1882–1936), attempts to create a distinctively modern and Egyptian self free from the colonial gaze led to the formation of an ambivalent, performative subjectivity that he calls “effendi masculinity.” He traces effendi masculinity as it took hold during the interwar years, in realms from scouting and competitive sports to sex talk and fashion, considering its gendered performativity in relation to a late-nineteenth- century British discourse on masculinity and empire and an explicitly nationalist discourse on Egyptian masculinity. He contends that as an assemblage of colonial modernity, effendi masculinity was simultaneously local and global, national and international, and particular and universal.
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Wilson Chacko Jacob is assistant professor of history at Concordia University, Montréal.

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“Working Out Egypt is an extraordinarily accomplished book. Wilson Chacko Jacob offers a highly original history of effendi masculinity based on a sophisticated interpretation of a vast, multisited archive. His analysis speaks directly to a number of concerns animating not only history but also feminist, cultural, and postcolonial studies. It encompasses colonial modernity and Egyptian specificity, masculinity and the quest for a normative social/sexual order, print culture and its collision with imperial globality, and the performative processes through which nations and their national imaginaries unfold.”—Antoinette Burton, author of Empire in Question: Reading, Writing, and Teaching British Imperialism<br><br>

“This is a pioneering book that probes the relationship between colonialism, nationalism, and masculinity in fresh and exciting ways. Through a careful examination of Egyptian and British popular and political culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Wilson Chacko Jacob tells a complex story of how Egyptian national subjectivity was crafted with and against colonial tropes. Working Out Egypt is essential reading for scholars and students of history, postcoloniality, sexuality, gender, subject formation, and Middle East studies.”—Saba Mahmood, author of Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject

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