The study of Arab historiography and of the emergence of the Arab nation-state as an object of historical treatment is a matter of considerable current interest. Despite its importance, no academic work has dealt with this subject as a major preoccupation of Arab historians and intellectuals. This book, first published in 1989, discusses the development of modern Arab historiography and its study of the nation-state in the nineteenth century, and analyses the work of three contemporary Arab historians from Egypt, the Lebanon and Morocco. An important and highly readable account, it reaffirms the importance of historiography and proposes a revision of the manner in which modern Arab thought has hitherto been classified and interpreted.
Part 1. Pioneers and Amateurs 1820-1920 1. Patriotic Intellectuals and Enlightened Patrons: al-Tahtawi and the Egyptian Identity 1.1. The Concept and Use of History 1.2. Egypt Resurrected 1.3. Religion and Science 1.4. Another Azharite 2. Two Histories of Syria 2.1. The Burden of the Past 2.2. Matar’s Syria 2.3. Yanni’s History 3. New Identities and Imperial Vistas 3.1. Carthage, Rome and Arabia Part 2. The Professional Historians: Managers of Legitimation 1920-80 4. Muhammad ‘Ali and the Sphinx: Shafiq Ghurbal’s Histories of Egypt 4.1. Views of History 4.2. The Villains, the Ignorant, and the Unlucky 4.3. Two Rivals 4.4. Muhammad ‘Ali Revisited 4.5. The Pharaohs or the Arabs? 5. Kamal Salibi and the History of Lebanon: The Making of a Nation? 5.1. A New History 5.2. In the Beginning 5.3. An Enlightened Prince? 5.4. A Christian Nation and a Greek Ethos 5.5. The Politics of History 6. The Panacea of Historicism: Abdallah Laroui and Morocco’s Cultural Retardation 6.1. An Ideological Leap 6.2. History as Culture 6.3. A Hobbesian Sultan