Gender and the Making of Modern Medicine in Colonial Egypt investigates the use of medicine as a 'tool of empire' to serve the state building process in Egypt by the British colonial administration. It argues that the colonial state effectively transformed Egyptian medical practice and medical knowledge in ways that were decidedly gendered. On the one hand, women medical professionals who had once trained as 'doctresses' (hakimas) were now restricted in their medical training and therefore saw their social status decline despite colonial modernity's promise of progress. On the other hand, the introduction of colonial medicine gendered Egyptian medicine in ways that privileged men and masculinity. Far from being totalized colonial subjects, Egyptian doctors paradoxically reappropriated aspects of Victorian science to forge an anticolonial nationalist discourse premised on the Egyptian woman as mother of the nation. By relegating Egyptian women - whether as midwives or housewives - to maternal roles in the home, colonial medicine was determinative in diminishing what control women formerly exercised over their profession, homes and bodies through its medical dictates to care for others. By interrogating how colonial medicine was constituted, Hibba Abugideiri reveals how the rise of the modern state configured the social formation of native elites in ways directly tied to the formation of modern gender identities, and gender inequalities, in colonial Egypt.
Hibba Abugideiri is an Assistant Professor of History at Villanova University, USA. She has authored many articles and contributed several chapters to edited volumes on gender and medicine as well as women in Islam.
'Hibba Abugideiri's Gender and the Making of Modern Medicine in Colonial Egypt is an informative, well-researched book detailing the changing medical field in Egypt from the time of Mehmed Ali's regime through British colonial rule (1820s-1930s)... Ultimately, with its many merits, this book is a valuable addition to growing scholarship on gender history, Egyptian history, and the history of medicine and the state in all its definitions.' Social History of Medicine 'Abugideiri offers a compelling analysis of medical professionalization, one that substantively enriches trends in the field. She situates the rise of modern medicine in Egypt in key registers of modernity: state building and population health, political tensions within the projects of empire and nation, and gender difference in the rise of modern notions of expertise.' Victorian Studies 'Gender and the Making of Modern Medicine in Colonial Egypt is a valuable analysis of how medical institution building paved the way for a syncretic indigenous medical discourse with significant implications for gender relations and for the rhetoric and mobilization of anti-colonial nationalism.' Journal of African History