The Great Social Laboratory: Subjects of Knowledge in Colonial and Postcolonial Egypt

Synopsis

The Great Social Laboratory charts the development of the human sciences- anthropology, human geography, and demography- in late nineteenth- and twentieth-century Egypt. Tracing both intellectual and institutional genealogies of knowledge production, this book examines social science through a broad range of texts and cultural artifacts, ranging from the ethnographic museum, to architectural designs, to that pinnacle of social scientific research- "the article."

The author explores the interface between European and Egyptian social scientific discourses and interrogates the boundaries of knowledge production in a colonial and post-colonial setting. She examines the complex imperatives of race, class, and gender in the Egyptian colonial context, uncovering the new modes of governance, expertise, and social knowledge that defined a distinctive era of nationalist politics in the inter- and post-war periods. Finally, she examines the discursive field mapped out by colonial and nationalist discourses on the racial identity of the modern Egyptians.