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Friday, February 3, 2012

Napoleon in Egypt and the Description de l'Egypte, 1798-1801

44. Napoleon's Fantasy

France's invasion of Egypt under Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798 was once seen as a seminal moment in the history of the Middle East and the spread of a modernity equated with European civilization to Muslim world. This narrative, which was largely the product of Napoleon's own propaganda, has been criticized, and scholars using sources such as al-Jabarti's chronicle of the Egypt expedition have focused less on the immediate political impact than on the ways that the French and their Egyptian partners viewed their respective others. The expedition also produced, Description de l'Egypte, a massive but very problematic study of Egypt that can be seen as the birth of Orientalism. In this episode, we explore these issues by considering Napoleon's Egypt campaign not in terms of its military significance but rather its symbolic meaning.

Select Bibliography

Cole, Juan Ricardo. Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

Godlewska, Anne, and Neil Smith. Geography and Empire. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1994.

Godlewska, Anne. 1995. "Map, Text and Image. The Mentality of Enlightened Conquerors: A New Look at the Description De L'Egypte". Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 20, no. 1: 5-28.

Herold, J. Christopher. Bonaparte in Egypt. New York: Harper & Row, 1962.

Moreh, S. Al Jabarti's chronicle of the first seven months of the French occupation of Egypt. Leiden, Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 1975.

Reid, Donald M. Whose Pharaohs?: Archaeology, Museums, and Egyptian National Identity from Napoleon to World War I. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books, 1978.


Unknown said...

Hello -- Where is this podcast? I can't find it! Thanks!!!

Chris said...

There have been some problems uploading this particular podcast to my new hosting, but you find it hosted externally here:

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