Histories of the Jews of Egypt: An Imagined Bourgeoisie, 1880s-1950s, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Histories of the Jews of Egypt

An Imagined Bourgeoisie, 1880s-1950s, 1st Edition

By Dario Miccoli


230 pages | 6 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2015-03-13
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Up until the advent of Nasser and the 1956 War, a thriving and diverse Jewry lived in Egypt – mainly in the two cities of Alexandria and Cairo, heavily influencing the social and cultural history of the country.

Histories of the Jews of Egypt argues that this Jewish diaspora should be viewed as "an imagined bourgeoisie". It demonstrates how, from the late nineteenth century up to the 1950s, a resilient bourgeois imaginary developed and influenced the lives of Egyptian Jews both in the public arena, in institutions such as the school, and in the home. From the schools of the Alliance Israélite Universelle and the Cairo lycée français to Alexandrian marriage contracts and interwar Zionist newspapers – this book explains how this imaginary was characterised by a great capacity to adapt to the evolutions of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Egypt, but later deteriorated alongside increasingly strong Arab nationalism and the political upheavals that the country experienced from the 1940s onwards.

Offering a novel perspective on the history of modern Egypt and its Jews, and unravelling too often forgotten episodes and personalities which contributed to the making of an incredibly diverse and lively Jewish diaspora at the crossroads of Europe and the Middle East, this book is of interest to scholars of Modern Egypt, Jewish History and of Mediterranean History.


'…one of the best researched book on Egyptian Jews that I have read. It is the fruit of 9 long years of research, and it is as meticulous an accounting as one could ever imagine.'

Aimee Kligman, Women's Lens

Table of Contents

Introduction 1 In a Bizarre Country 1896-1939 2 Moving Histories, 1880s-1930s 3 A Moral Laboratory, 1880s-1940s 4 Extremely Close and Incredibly Far, 1915-1956 Conclusion

About the Author

Dario Miccoli is Fernand Braudel Fellow at the IREMAM/Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme, Aix-en-Provence. He is the editor of Memory and Ethnicity: Ethnic Museums in Israel and the Diaspora (2013).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern History

The region's history from the earliest times to the present is catered for by this series made up of the very latest research. Books include political, social, cultural, religious and economic history.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Middle East / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies