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Multilateral Possibilities: Decolonization, Preservation, and the Case of Egypt. Future Anterior: Journal of Historic Preservation, History, Theory, and Criticism 13 (1), 37-48, doi: 10.5749/futuante.13.1.0037

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Grounding Ideologies: Archaeology, Decolonization and the Cold War in Egypt. In Leslie James and Elisabeth Leake (eds) "Decolonization and the Cold War: Negotiating Independence". London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 167-182.

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Visalizing a Monumental Past: Archaeology, Nasser's Egypt, and the Early Cold War

William Carruthers

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Abstract

This article examines geographies of decolonization and the Cold War through a case study in the making of archeological knowledge. The article focuses on an archeological dig that took place in Egypt in the period between the July 1952 Free Officers’ coup and the 1956 Suez crisis. Making use of the notion of the ‘boundary object’, this article demonstrates how the excavation of ancient Egyptian remains at the site of Mit Rahina helped to constitute Nasserist revolutionary modernity and its relationship to wider, post-Second World War political geographies. The dig took place as a result of an Egyptian–American collaboration designed to institute the possibility of archeology taking place along the lines of the Point Four modernization program promoted by the United States. The article discusses how this situation not only engendered contention surrounding the role of the international ‘experts’ appointed to run this excavation work, but also – and as a result – helped to constitute the monumental visual and material shape that archeological evidence relating to the Egyptian past could now take. Egypt’s revolution sat within wider Cold War political struggles, yet the ‘ground-up’ realities of this relationship helped to constitute the sort of past (and future) monumentality proposed by Nasser’s government.

Bibliographical information

History of Science, doi: 10.1177/0073275316681800

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William Carruthers William Carruthers
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Multilateral Possibilities: Decolonization, Preservation, and the Case of Egypt

William Carruthers

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Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between post–World War II multilateralism, decolonization, and practices of preservation in the context of Egypt. Multilateral aid enabled non-Egyptian practitioners to emphasize their continued right to operate in the country via a postwar modernization rhetoric of collaboration and technical skill transfer. Focusing on the aftermath of one collaborative excavation, this paper shows, however, that multilateralism's growth in importance also allowed the Egyptian government to assert its own wishes by making the preservation of particular types of ancient material culture a boundary object around which foreign practitioners were forced to interact.

Bibliographical information

Future Anterior: Journal of Historic Preservation, History, Theory, and Criticism 13 (1), 37-48, doi: 10.5749/futuante.13.1.0037

The Author

William Carruthers William Carruthers
More information about the author
All publications of this author

Grounding Ideologies: Archaeology, Decolonization and the Cold War in Egypt

William Carruthers

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Abstract

Bibliographical information

In Leslie James and Elisabeth Leake (eds) "Decolonization and the Cold War: Negotiating Independence". London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 167-182.

The Author

William Carruthers William Carruthers
More information about the author
All publications of this author

Histories of Egyptology: Interdisciplinary Measures

William Carruthers

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Abstract

Histories of Egyptology are increasingly of interest: to Egyptologists, archaeologists, historians, and others. Yet, particularly as Egypt undergoes a contested process of political redefinition, how do we write these histories, and what (or who) are they for?  This volume addresses a variety of important themes, the historical involvement of Egyptology with the political sphere, the manner in which the discipline stakes out its professional territory, the ways in which practitioners represent Egyptological knowledge, and the relationship of this knowledge to the public sphere. Histories of Egyptology provides the basis to understand how Egyptologists constructed their discipline. Yet the volume also demonstrates how they construct ancient Egypt, and how that construction interacts with much wider concerns: of society, and of the making of the modern world.

Bibliographical information

New York: Routledge.

The Author

William Carruthers William Carruthers
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