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Education and the Management of Populations
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2. Education and the Management of Populations

No fallacy is more transparent or more monstrous than that which assumes that knowledge, or whatever training is got in schools, is a natural want, certain to assert itself like the want of food, or clothing, or shelter, and to create a demand. The fact is the very reverse of this assumption.…All statesmen who have wished to civilize and instruct a nation have to create this appetite.

Colonising Egypt, in the broad sense of the penetration of a new principle of order and technique of power, was never merely a question of introducing a new physical discipline or a new material order. In the first place, disciplinary powers were themselves to work by constructing their object as something twofold. They were to operate in terms of a distinction between the physical body that could be counted, policed, supervised and made industrious, and an inner mental space within which the corresponding habits of obedience and industry were to be instilled.

Schooling and the Colonial Project

Timothy Mitchell, in his fascinating book Colonising Egypt, has described schooling in nineteenth-century Egypt as the basis of “the new politics of the modern state,” [3] which took hold, after an extended infancy, in the late 1860s during the reign of Khedive Isma‘il. Even before formal European control was established over the country in 1876, Egyptian intellectuals educated abroad began to imagine schooling as a means of producing model citizens and a model society. “The power of working upon the individual offered by modern schooling,” Mitchell writes, “was to be the hallmark and method of politics itself,” a politics “modelled on the process of schooling,” [4] which would utilize the school's “precise methods of inspection, coordination and control” to “change the tastes and habits of an entire people…and by a new means of education make him or her into a modern political subject—frugal, innocent, and, above all, busy.” [5] Inspired by Foucault's reading of disciplinary formation in Europe, Mitchell portrays the sea change in Egyptian politics as a process of

replacing a power concentrated in personal command, and always liable to diminish, with powers that were systematically and uniformly diffused. The diffusion of control required mechanisms that were measured rather than excessive and continuous rather than sporadic, working by invigilation and the management of space.[6]

In a sense the present chapter can be read as a documentary supplement to Mitchell's description of the establishment of European-style schools in Egypt, focusing much more specifically on their use as arenas of religious instruction, and concentrating on the detailed strategies of imperial administrators. But at the same time, I will argue that we need to go considerably beyond Mitchell's reading of Egyptian history in order to understand the unique dynamic of the school. While the school may be a mechanism of diffuse and invisible power, it is also—as we saw in chapter 1—an engine of tension and contradiction. As sociologists of education have shown us, students are neither the passive pawns of educational organization and ideology, nor are educators their absolute masters. The belief held by cultural elites that “modern” education is the most effective machine of social pacification has acted to stunt their own recognition of its ambiguous and unpredictable influence.

Exoticizing the Classroom

During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Europeans were still debating the appropriateness of state-sponsored education, although opposition was quickly fading. In 1876 Herbert Spencer, whom the Egyptian religious reformer Muhammad ‘Abduh described as “the chief of the philosophers on social questions,” [7] complained in his Principles of Sociology that the growing power of the state over the individual was contrary to the natural order of social evolution, a regression to an earlier form of political organization. Belittling government by “public analyzers” and “the tacit assumption that State- authority over citizens has no assignable limits,” Spencer contradicted the reigning progressivism of his day, which held that national interests could and did excuse public trespass across the natural boundaries of the family. Such interference disrupted the division between the “law of the family,” by which resources are bestowed upon helpless individuals without reservation, and the “law of society,” by which resources are distributed proportional to individual effort. When this happens, he warned, society “fails to hold its own in the struggle against other societies, which allow play to the natural law that prosperity shall vary as efficiency.” [8]

Legislation has of late further relaxed family bonds by relieving parents from the care of their children's minds, and replacing education under parental direction by education under governmental direction; and where the appointed authorities have found it needful partially to clothe neglected children before they could be taught, and even to whip children by police agency for not going to school, they have still further substituted national responsibility for the responsibility of parents. The recognition of the individual, rather than the family, as the social unit, has indeed now gone so far that by many the paternal duty of the state is assumed as self-evident.[9]

Spencer's discomfort with the practice of state paternalism in education led him to compose substantial essays on the subject both at the beginning and at the end of his career.[10] The tenacity of his beliefs went unrewarded, however, and he was forced to admit that, in this conviction as in others, “it became a usual experience with me to stand in a minority—often a small minority, approaching sometimes a minority of one.” [11]

This bristling rejection of state-led educational reform in late nineteenth-century Great Britain illuminates the school from an unusual angle, exoticizing practices we have long since come to perceive as normal. For despite the patriotic mythology surrounding the development of popular schooling in Europe and the United States, the rapid expansion of popular education during the mid-nineteenth century was motivated not as much by a humanistic longing to open children's minds to the glories of culture, civilization, and personal growth as by the desire of political elites to manage the outlook and behavior of the working classes through promoting and institutionalizing programs of mass socialization.[12] Fears of social disruption by the lower classes—through crime, vice, and popular rebellion—motivated the creation of prophylactic measures like popular schooling that would, in theory, produce disciplined, competent workers with little incentive to disturb the status quo. The advent of European control over Egypt during the last quarter of the nineteenth century transported these same fears and responses in a long southeastward arc across the Mediterranean and down through the Red Sea, completing finally the strategic geographical circuit between Great Britain and India.

In examining the political needs and cultural assumptions underlying the importation to Egypt of European-style mass schooling, we can view the consequent transformation of the individual Egyptian into a social unit over which the state wished to assume parental responsibility, the development Spencer so despised. This ideological change answered the colonial administration's need to justify its extension of influence across barriers of class and family, to reinforce the former and weaken the latter, and it took place in part through the appropriation of indigenous Qur’anic schools for public use. This is where we can see how the process of functionalization, first aimed at the physical institutions in which formal religious socialization occurred, began to transform people's ideas about the subject matter itself.

Furnishing Children for the Schools

In 1801, after the British had routed Napoleon Bonaparte's three-year army of occupation from Egypt, the Ottoman sultan Selim III sought to reestablish control of his territory by dispatching troops led by Albanian-born Muhammad ‘Ali, to the province. But within a few years Muhammad ‘Ali had consolidated power on his own behalf and established a dynasty that lasted nominally until Egypt's 1952 Revolution. It was his effort to consolidate control over Egypt and gain military parity with Europe that motivated the initial importation of the European-style school to Egypt.

Military parity with Europe—which comprised every feature of modern armies up to and including the indispensable regimental brass band—required industrial parity, which in turn presupposed technological parity, which finally demanded a system by which people could be recruited and trained in those techniques and manufactures that would sustain a new type of armed forces. By the 1820s, Muhammad ‘Ali had already begun to use Egypt's rural kuttabs (pl. katatib; small local institutions for the memorization of the Qur’an) as the recruiting grounds for his newly established preparatory and technical schools. Needing students with basic reading and writing skills, he requisitioned provincial commissioners for healthy and literate boys between the ages of ten and twenty to study at these new military facilities.[13] One of the unexpected consequences of this system of recruitment was that enrollment in kuttabs plummeted. Parents refused to send their children to study at local kuttabs, which, by making them literate, would now subject them to impression into distant technical schools that were little more than auxiliary branches of the military. “The antipathy that the Egyptian feels against military conscription,” wrote a future Egyptian minister of education, “extends to scholarly conscription.” [14]

Because of this, by 1833 the deterioration of the kuttabs was so advanced that the government was forced to establish several new state- run primary schools in the provinces of Girga and Asyut, and to extend control over a number of existing kuttabs to increase the number of boys eligible for recruitment. Students in these new schools received uniforms, rations, supplies, and stipends, and though the content and method of instruction were similar to indigenous madrasas (pl. madaris; institutions for more advanced study of classical Islamic texts), the students—drawn from poor families attracted by the financial support of their children—were subject to strict military discipline.[15]

The literate culture of both the kuttab and the madrasa depended on oral instruction and only secondarily on the use of writing, either the child's copying on slates or the more advanced scholar's perusal of manuscript copies of important works.[16] The first printed book used in Egypt's government schools was the Alfiyya of Ibn Malik (with a commentary by Ibn ‘Aqil), an eighth-century Muslim legal text distributed by Muhammad ‘Ali to the new provincial schools in December of 1834.[17] Unlike neighboring kuttabs in which children attended irregularly at the pleasure of their elders and masters, Muhammad ‘Ali's newly systematized primary schools were rigidly scheduled for up to nine hours a day. By 1835 an ideal syllabus for the primary school at Cairo outlined a three- year program of study that resembled that of the mosque-university al-Azhar in miniature, stressing Qur’an memorization and the use of classical theological texts for memory training and penmanship practice.[18] By the following decade some interest was shown in using more contemporary works, and the government's agent in London sent to Egypt books of stories, geographies, and arithmetic texts suitable for children. Though some of these works were translated and used in schools, the authorities failed to distribute notebooks in which the children could write, leaving them with the old slates which they had used to copy passages from their Islamic texts.[19]

With support from an expatriate community of French St. Simonist utopians, Muhammad ‘Ali developed further plans for expanding the system of government primary schools through the late 1830s, planning to scatter fifty throughout the country (four in Cairo, one in Alexandria, and the rest in the provinces), which together would enroll some five thousand students. The three- to four-year primary program, covering Arabic, arithmetic and religious studies, would feed students to the two four-year preparatory schools in Cairo and Alexandria, which would in turn send pupils to the higher technical institutes. The preparatory curriculum covered geometry, algebra, history, geography, drawing, calligraphy, Arabic, Persian, and Turkish; together these two schools could accommodate two thousand pupils.[20] Muhammad ‘Ali's schools, like his factories, were not only intended to supply military needs, but were supplied with students by the same system of conscription. The British diplomat John Bowring described in 1840 how the district shaykhs of Cairo “are charged with the collection of the Ferdeh–with furnishing children for the schools, and workpeople for the fabrics.” [21]

During the first four months of 1837 alone, nearly fifty new primary schools were opened, each staffed by principals and teachers recruited from the ranks of the mosque-university of al-Azhar. But the political considerations that had prompted the explosive expansion of schools soon changed. In mid-July 1841, Muhammad ‘Ali was forced by joint Ottoman and European pressure to end a long-running military incursion into the Ottoman province of Syria, and reduced his army from over a quarter-million troops to fewer than a tenth that number. Without the army's need for the same level of technical support the new school system collapsed. Even before the disengagement treaty had been signed, sixteen of the new primary schools closed. More than two dozen were shut down the following October, and five in November, leaving, according to James Heyworth-Dunne, only three government-sponsored primary schools left in the country, and plans afoot to cut the educational budget by a further 50 percent.[22] It was not until 1863, with the accession of Muhammad ‘Ali's son Isma‘il, that royal interest in education began to rebound, but even then the foundation of significant national education projects proved nearly impossible for financial and logistical reasons. Efforts in 1868, 1871, and 1880 to extend modern primary schools widely into the provinces and to integrate the rural kuttabs into a national system of schools failed to produce much result.[23] The five thousand or so local kuttabs that were estimated to exist in 1878 remained the country's only formal source of entrée into the literate tradition.[24] The number of kuttab students represented between 2 and 4 percent of children between the ages of five and fifteen in Egypt's approximately nine million population at that time.

Along with the remaining technical schools, there were also schools run by the indigenous Christian and Jewish communities, and by the many foreign communities in Egypt, although most students still attended indigenous religious schools, both elementary (the kuttab) and advanced (the mosque schools of al-Azhar in Cairo, al-Ahmadi in Tanta, and Ibrahim Pasha in Alexandria). Given Europe's accelerating interest in educational extension, reform, and centralization during the course of the century, the maintenance of such a complex and unregulated conglomeration of schools usually struck members of the foreign community as a hindrance to national progress, but inevitable given the “innate defects” of oriental character. M. Octave Sachot, for example, an officer of the Académie Française, visited Egypt in the late 1860s to report on the status of education there, and to make recommendations to Victor Duruy, the French minister of education. Commenting on Muhammad ‘Ali's effort to look toward “the social organization of the West, and in particular that of France” for his inspiration, Sachot wrote,

The task is arduous, for each people has its innate qualities and defects, the results of ancient and often inaccessible causes which cannot be modified overnight by the importation of foreign institutions. And in the same way that in architecture it is much easier to construct an assemblage of parts upon a bare terrain, than it is to graft a new style onto an existing monument, so it is with civilization: it is perhaps much easier to operate on the terrain of complete barbarism, than on a soil encumbered by a social state it has propped up for a long time, and upon the immutable doctrines of a religion hostile to the introduction of any new idea or custom.[25]

Lacking barren ground in which to set the foundations of a new civilization, the task before Egypt's foreign and domestic reformers was to build on the irregular foundations already in place. Meanwhile, a few model institutions like the Tawfiqiyya, Khidiwiyya, and Ra’s al-Tin secondary schools opened during Isma‘il's reign, and Victoria College in Alexandria (largely for the use of local elites and foreigners) would illustrate the advantages of European education.[26]

Education and British Colonial Policy, 1882–1922

The metaphoric spirit of the age, as evoked by the inventions of science, intercourse with European countries, and other invigorating influences have already done something to inspire the [peasant] with the rudiments of self-respect, and a dim conception of hitherto unimagined possibilities.

Fourteen years after Sachot's visit, and bound by the same notion of the civilizing mission, the British administration of Egypt set out to reshape and systematize existing educational institutions, using as models both its Indian experience and the lessons of rural popular education at home.[28] British attitudes toward education were conditioned by their belief that Egyptian society could be bettered (and the country's debt to European creditors liquidated) only through a carefully managed set of reforms aimed at increasing the country's agricultural productivity. Consequently their greatest fear was of a misdirection of effort toward a rapid industrial development that might divert resources from agriculture, threatening both the interests of the powerful local landowning class, and the supply of cotton to British textile mills.[29] Concern for the potential loss of the rural labor force was articulated as early as 1840 by Bowring, and in 1905 Lord Cromer, the British consul general, warned that “any education, technical or general, which tended to leave the fields untilled, or to lessen the fitness or disposition of the people for agricultural employment, would be a national evil.” [30]

Philosophically, the relationship between colonial economic and educational policy was based on Britain's Indian experience, which the historian and politician Thomas Babington Macaulay had articulated in his famous speech to the House of Commons in July of 1833, outlining for his colleagues “the most selfish view of the case”:

It is scarcely possible to calculate the benefits which we might derive from the diffusion of European civilisation among the vast population of the East. It would be…far better for us that the people of India were well governed and independent of us, than ill governed and subject to us; that they were ruled by their own kings, but wearing our broadcloth, and working with our cutlery, than that they were performing their salams to English Collectors and English magistrates, but were too ignorant to value, or too poor to buy, English manufactures. To trade with civilised men is infinitely more profitable than to govern savages. That would, indeed, be a doting wisdom, which, in order that India might remain a dependency, would make it a useless and costly dependency, which would keep a hundred millions of men from being our customers in order that they might continue to be our slaves.[31]

In Egypt, educational effort was therefore to be split along class and geographical axes, reinforcing the barriers between country and city and maintaining an appropriate class hierarchy. The course of instruction in elementary schools or kuttabs—usually the only schools available outside the provincial capitals—did not allow successful students to continue on to European-language education in preparatory and technical schools, or to obtain the certificates that would allow them employment in the civil service. Instead the village schools were, from 1898, allowed to compete for financial support by a competitive system of grants-in-aid from the Ministry of Public Instruction, which entailed bringing themselves under that ministry's inspection. One of the criteria for eligibility was that all instruction be in Arabic. But since instruction in higher schools was at least partially in French or English until 1908,[32] this meant an automatic bar to social mobility for the poorest section of the population, who could not afford school fees in the higher primary schools. After this date, a ceiling placed on the potential salary of individuals without secondary certificates meant that, unless a family possessed sufficient resources to see their child through both paid primary and secondary education, even beginning the process would be pointless.

The British-controlled government articulated specific educational goals having to do with the staffing of the local civil service, the spread of basic literacy in the countryside, and later, the creation of a thrifty peasantry and an artisan class skilled in European manufactures.[33] They and their domestic allies pursued these objectives with different degrees of official energy and different degrees of success. But alongside these restricted official aims were the goals of affirming colonial authority and creating a new social order in Egypt. These latter ambitions, broad practical components of the colonial enterprise articulated as long-term cultural goals rather than as school policy, were: (1) the creation of a new moral consciousness in the population; (2) the maintenance of public order; (3) the Europeanization of the class structure; and (4) The Europeanization of the family, glossed as the liberation of Egyptian women. Examining each of these goals in turn, we can see how intellectual and political trends in Europe influenced the development of educational theory and practice in Egypt.

Moral Order: The Primitive Conception of the Teacher

In both Egypt and England, the development of rural education in the nineteenth century took place largely through the subvention of religion-based popular schools, and the tension between supporting a school's teaching of secular subjects (arithmetic, for instance) and consequent support of its religious programs, proved at times to be a political irritant. Just two decades prior to the Occupation of Egypt, the Revised Code of 1862 set a new course for the elementary schools of Great Britain, making the efficient teaching of reading, writing, and arithmetic, rather than doctrinal matters, the acknowledged center of the curriculum and the subjects qualifying a school for government grants-in-aid.[34] Prior to this legislation, and the 1870 code following it that made elementary schooling compulsory in England, the purpose of elementary education for the masses had been—according to its proponents—to overcome the ruinous moral influences of the home environment.[35]

The kuttab and the British elementary school of the early nineteenth century both arose from the need for communally sanctioned religious instruction, the need to reproduce a sacred tradition of writing as well as the skills of reading and writing themselves. For its part, Victorian anthropological theory recognized that the social roles of priest and teacher could be traced to a common ancestor, for since the most precious knowledge is that which cannot be gathered through everyday experience, specialists in esoteric wisdom—those who know the ways of supernatural beings—are called upon to help others regulate their conduct in ways pleasing to the gods. “The primitive conception of the teacher,” wrote Spencer, “is the conception of one who gives instruction in sacred matters.” [36]

In 1839 the British home secretary wrote that the “four principal objects” of elementary schooling should be “religious instruction, general instruction, moral training, and habits of industry.” [37] Consider the following passages, the first from a Lancasterian teacher's manual of 1816, and the second from a speech delivered by the Evangelical Reverend Daniel Wilson three years later in support of a charity school in the center of England's silk-weaving region:

The cultivation of the mind bestowed in these elementary schools, opens and expands the faculties of the children, gives them clear notions of the moral and social duties, prepares them for the reception of religious instruction, forms them to habits of virtue, and habituates them to subordination and control.[38]

In every country, but especially in this free state, the mass of your Poor, like the base of the cone, if it be unsteady and insecure, will quickly endanger every superincumbent part. Religious education, then, is the spring of public tranquility. It not only cherishes the interior principle of conscience; but by infusing the higher sentiments of penitence and faith and gratitude and the love of God, communicates the elements of a cheerful and uniform subjection to all lawful authority.[39]

In the first case instruction as such is granted a social benefit through the symbiotic adjustment of the individual to society. Habituation to subordination and control develops simultaneously with the expansion of the child's faculties; in fact, these amount to one and the same thing. In the second case a metaphor combining schoolbook geometry and classical political economy is completed by the elegant stabilizing influence of religious instruction, which has the power and precision of a mathematical function. This emphasis was of long standing. In schools sponsored by churches and benevolent societies, teaching methodologies in the early 1800s did not differ substantially from those used centuries before: reading and writing (penmanship) were means for acquiring moral betterment through the Scriptures.[40] With this as a background, the halting development of secular instruction in Great Britain is not surprising. Each new bill brought before Parliament for the extension of fiscal support for education encountered critics on all sides, but particularly from clergy who feared that government schemes for subvention of private schools would favor one denomination—or bald secularism—over their own. Even attempts to avoid the appearance of favoritism encountered harsh opposition. The creation of board schools supported by local taxation set off a furious public debate about the substance of religious education for the masses, as the new schools restricted religious instruction to “mere” Bible-reading without sectarian content.

See-sawing Backwards and Forwards the Whole Time

In Egypt, Europeans perceived their Christian moral code and its cultural axioms pitted against the entrenched interests of an indigenous religious establishment they portrayed in their writing as both venal and reactionary.

At this moment there is no real justice in this country. What passes under that name is a mockery.…In ancient days the Cadi, an essentially religious functionary, took cognizance of all disputes and gave judgement according to his own lights, without reference to any procedure; though he occasionally invoked such a text from the Koran, or such a phrase from a commentator as appeared most applicable to the matter in hand. His real inspiration, however, was too often drawn from the money bags of one, or perhaps both parties to the case.[41]

The perceived venality of the ‘ulama (religious scholars)was just one manifestation of the pervading corruption of Egyptian officialdom. The mark distinguishing the “shaykh class” from other traditional elites was its possession of the qualities of “fanaticism and bigotry.” So powerful an effect did these qualities exercise, and so pervasive their influence on the population at large, that they formed a convenient hook on which to hang criticisms of the slow pace of Egyptian reforms and the occasional outbreaks of political or religious excitement. “The Egyptian,” recalled Alfred Milner, the former under secretary for finance in Egypt, “…is not by nature in the least fanatical. But he has been brought up in fanatical traditions, and he is greatly under the influence of religious teachers, who are fanatics by profession.” [42] To extirpate this imputed fanaticism and bigotry from the country therefore became essential, and reformers searched for their source like explorers seeking the headwaters of the Nile, finding it finally in the method and content of instruction in indigenous schools. Change these, and the conservatism of the Egyptian, as well as his incapacity for logical thought, would be replaced by those mental qualities necessary to national progress.[43]

Foreign visitors to kuttabs were struck by two things that distinguished them from the schools they knew at home: the single subject of instruction and the arrangements for its communication. (Some other features of the indigenous schools differed hardly at all from rural institutions in Britain.)[44] James Augustus St. John, writing of his 1832–33 journey in Egypt, gave a concise description of the “fanatic” Shaykh Ibrahim's kuttab in Alexandria:

In the appearance of the Medressy there was nothing remarkable, except that, instead of being seated on forms ranged regularly in the centre of the apartment, the boys were all squatted cross-legged upon a mat, with the pedagogue in the midst of them. In Egypt, Nubia, and, I believe, generally in Mohammedan countries, boys are taught to write upon a smooth thin tablet painted white, about the size of an ordinary ciphering-slate, with a handle at one end. From this the characters are easily effaced by washing. While studying, or rather learning to repeat, their lessons, each boy declaims his portion of the Koran aloud at the same time, rocking his body to and fro, in order, according to their theory, to assist the memory; and as every one seems desirous of drowning the voices of his companions, the din produced by so many shrill discordant notes reminds one of the “labourers of Babel.” [45]

The lack of furniture and the children's occasional involvement in economic pursuits (e.g., plaiting straw mats for the teacher's use, or for sale) during their lessons tended to upset foreign visitors, in whose mind education was a specialized task requiring its own set of equipment, trained professionals, and the full, uninterrupted attention of all parties.[46] Observers criticized the shabby appearance of kuttabs and, interpreting their physical organization as the result mainly of poverty, appealed for their provision with symbols of modern learning such as textbooks and blackboards. The European obsession with the physical setting and scheduling of formal socialization extended to discussions of Islamic higher education as well, where some descriptions of the system lapse into self-parody. Here is Amir Boktor, for example, an Armenian professor of education at the American University in Cairo, describing the traditional organization of instruction at al-Azhar:

Suffice it to say that it has remained as primitive as it was ten centuries ago. Imagine a group of student Sheikhs numbering from 11 to 15 thousand squatting on mats of the Azhar Mosque in small classes, each class listening to an old teacher Sheikh, sitting on a wooden form, with legs crossed in oriental fashion, swinging his head left and right, as he lectures on the controversial dogmas of religion and Arabic rhetoric.…Picture also hundreds of individual students scattered all over the place, noisily reciting their studies, with the inevitable constant swinging of the head, their shoes placed beside them. Some students attend the very early morning lectures soon after the morning prayers from 3:30 a.m. Others attend the evening lectures after the evening prayers. In other words, it is sort of a Platoon system starting from 3:30 a.m. and ending at 9:30 p.m., but with no blackboards, seats, equipment, swimming pool, or cafeteria.[47]

For Boktor (citing an 1872 Swiss evaluation of Egyptian schools as his authority), al-Azhar's lack of swimming pool and cafeteria discredited it as an educational institution just as the lack of “forms ranged regularly in the centre of the apartment” had discredited the kuttab. But the rocking behavior of student and teacher in the kuttab was more remarkable still, drawing comments from nearly all travelers. Bowring's description of a school in Qena told his readers that “the mode of instruction is the same as is adopted throughout the Ottoman empire. While the lesson is giving [sic], the master's head is in a state of perpetual vibration backwards and forwards, in which he is imitated by all the children.” [48] In Alexandria, Nightingale wrote of the children “learning the Koran (see-sawing backwards and forwards the whole time)”;[49] in al-Mahalla al-Kubra, Worsfold said that education “consisted, so far as the children were concerned, in the recital of passages from the Kuran, accompanied by a more or less energetic swaying of their bodies from the hips backwards and forwards.” [50] Sachot emphasized the movement's lasting influence on students and its identification with social class: “This sort of invariable sing-song, produced in a loud voice and accompanied by a rocking back and forth of the body, soon develops into a tic preserved in adulthood by most natives of the lower classes.” [51] And Milner, with characteristic venom, turned the practice into a reverse metaphor for the learning process itself:

…to sit on the ground swinging your body backwards and forwards, and continually repeating, in a monotonous chant, a quantity of matter which you are taught to regard with religious reverence, but never taught to understand, is, if anything, an anti-educational process. If the object of true education be intellectual gymnastic, if it be to exercise and render supple the joints of the mind, then this system is its very opposite, for it tends to stiffen them. It is not calculated to enlighten, but to obfuscate.[52]

Milner's polemic highlights two important features of the Victorian perception of the kuttab: that it violated reasonable standards of religious and moral instruction (“repeating…a quantity of matter which you are taught to regard with religious reverence, but never taught to understand”); and that it violated reasonable standards of instruction in general (“If the object of true education…be to exercise and render supple the joints of the mind, then this system is its very opposite”). The kuttab's exotic setting and the constant, disconcerting physical motion of its tenants marked it as something sensual and primitive. This perception found its intellectual charter in contemporary anthropological theory, which held that, while higher religions (like philosophy itself) were systems of pure thought, primitive religions had significant physical and sensual components. Durkheim, for example, while admitting that all religions were true after their own fashion, nevertheless held that some could be rated superior to others “in the sense that they call into play higher mental functions, that they are richer in ideas and sentiments, [and] that they contain more concepts with fewer sensations and images.” [53] And Oxford's R. R. Marett claimed even more plainly that “savage religion is something not so much thought out as danced out;…in other words, it develops under conditions, psychological and social, which favour emotional and motor processes, whereas ideation remains relatively in abeyance.” [54] On this classification, not only the physical rocking during lessons, but the ritual prostrations during Muslim worship itself, appeared as backward as the unreasoning dance of the savage or the mystical abandon “of dervishes during certain religious festivals.” [55] The civilized individual could accord such an undertaking no more respect than the serious adult could accord to children's play. Along with the reliance on memorization of an obscure text, the sensuality of study disqualified the indigenous system of learning as rational.[56]

Kuttab learning resulted ideally in the student's literal incorporation of the text of the Qur’an, and accordingly the practice of its inculcation “was ordered around the meaning and the power of words.” [57] Significantly, kuttab practice was primarily oral. The skills of reading and writing were always secondary to the acquisition of the skill of exactly reproducing the recited word of God. Through daily exposure to and repetition of sacred verse, a young boy could within the space of a few years gain the ability to repeat the text by himself (a skill often lost and then sometimes refreshed once he left the kuttab). Students who showed a talent for learning and continued to study at teaching mosques (madrasas) like al-Azhar would later be taught the meaning of the text they had memorized in the kuttab, along with the sciences of grammar and interpretation, which had historically resulted in particular readings. Throughout the Muslim world madrasa study was based on the memorization of a set corpus, but the particular texts as well as the style of learning and the attitude toward scholarly authority differed from one place to another. While Iranian madrasas, for example, featured lively talmudic-style interchanges between scholar and teacher, questioning of the corpus was actively discouraged in Morocco. A young man who had studied with a particular shaykh, and who acquired the ability to recite the texts and commentaries on which the latter was an authority, could earn a written declaration of competence to transmit those same texts to others. Creating and maintaining this genealogy of recitation, memorization, and transmission is what ensured the authority of “texts in the world of the Text,” the divine word of God.[58]

For the British, on the other hand, religious instruction meant the inculcation not of recited truth, but of behavioral guidelines, whether of a straightforwardly religious character or popular wisdom cloaked with post-hoc scriptural or patriotic authority.[59] Even after doctrinal formulations were shut out of the curriculum of publicly funded schools, to the chagrin of the clergy,[60] Bible reading was retained, forming part of “the rapid growth of an unsectarian religion, in which the moral element reigns supreme, and in which, if the dogmatic element is not wholly suppressed, it is at least regarded as doubtful, subordinate, and unimportant.” [61] Early in the century, Joseph Lancaster's popular school movement had brought literacy to hundreds of thousands of children as preparation for moral instruction. Lancaster, a Quaker, commented on the role of Scripture in the school by saying that

there is no important head under which the Scriptures can be arranged, but it is likely to point the mind to some virtue, to prevent some practical error, or arm it against some vice.…I do not approve of boys being required to learn whole chapters, or long portions of Scripture by rote, unless united with emulation; and then they should be concise, and connected with some subject that has been recently, or is intended to be introduced particularly to their notice.[62]

True moral instruction lay in the study and understanding of “lessons” drawn from Scripture. The text itself, aside from refining literary taste, was secondary to the conveyance of such lessons, and in any case the text had to be understood in order to be useful. Some Europeans hoped to encourage such “moral” study in the kuttab, replacing the memorization of text with the formulation and inculcation of abstract ethical guidelines. In this way “the Koran might be made, like the Bible, a means of imparting moral truth combined with instructive history. This is not done, the poor little children's nascent powers are warped and stunted, and the results appear when their higher education is attempted.” [63]

With a population so ethically stunted, moral enlightenment could hardly be expected in Egyptian institutes of higher study, either. Bowring commented upon “the most worthless character” of such teaching as it stood in Egypt in the 1830s, long before the doctrinal element in English Christianity had come to be “regarded as doubtful, subordinate, and unimportant.”

It turns principally upon the religious observances required by the Koran, and degenerates into extreme frivolity. Rarely is any lesson of morality given, and the passages of the Koran, which teach the cultivation of the virtues, are much less introduced and commented on than those which bear upon the ceremonials of the Mussulman faith. Inquiries as to the quantity of adulteration, which makes water improper for ablution—into the grammatical turn of the language of prayer—into the cases in which the obligations to fast may be modified—into the gestures in adoration most acceptable to Allah—into the comparative sanctity of different localities, and similar points—are the controversies which are deemed of the highest importance, and the settlement of which is supposed to confer a paramount reputation upon the Ulema.[64]

The differences Europeans saw between their own “moral” approach to religion and the merely “ritual” concern of Egyptians formed an important part both of European self-definition and of their strategic intervention in Egyptian religious socialization. Half a century after Bowring, Milner denounced such education as “a blight upon the religious and intellectual life of the country,” in which the “ideals…permeating the whole body…are narrow and perverted,” and the “ignorant population looks up with superstitious reverence…[to] the men most remarkable for the vehemence of their bigotry and of their immersion in antiquated formulae and barren traditions.” [65] But what, in a practical sense, would a new manner of moral education accomplish in Egypt? The answer lies on the long road from the rolling English countryside to the urban factory, the world of Adam Smith and the classical doctrines of political economy that popularized the notion that education was an ideal tool for crowd control.

Public Order: The Best Way of Keeping These People Quiet

Early in 1847, the House of Commons was preparing to request a grant from the Crown of one hundred thousand pounds for the support of public instruction, and Macaulay, whom we heard earlier outlining the purpose of education in India, defended the measure against its conservative detractors, delivering a passionate speech supporting popular education. Citing The Wealth of Nations, Macaulay called education for the poor one of the most urgent concerns of the commonwealth, for “just as the magistrate ought to interfere for the purpose of preventing the leprosy from spreading among the people, he ought to interfere for the purpose of stopping the progress of the moral distempers which are inseparable from ignorance.” [66]

“The most dreadful disorders,” he quoted Smith, would follow from the inflammation of religious animosities among the uninstructed masses, as they had in the “No Popery” riots of 1780, which had seen urban prisons emptied, Parliament besieged, dozens of fires set in London, and a shocking loss of life.[67] The cause of the incident, “a calamity which…ranks with the great plague and the great fire…was the ignorance of a population which had been suffered, in the neighbourhood of palaces, theatres, temples, to grow up as rude and stupid as any tribe of tattooed cannibals in New Zealand,…as any drove of beasts in Smithfield Market.” [68] Then naming half a dozen similar outrages against person and property committed by the malcontents of the Industrial Revolution, he came to the main argument for popular instruction:

Could such things have been done in a country in which the mind of the labourer had been opened by education, in which he had been taught to find pleasure in the exercise of his intellect, taught to revere his Maker, taught to respect legitimate authority, and taught at the same time to seek the redress of real wrongs by peaceful and constitutional means?

This then is my argument. It is the duty of Government to protect our persons and property from danger. The gross ignorance of the common people is a principal cause of danger to our persons and property. Therefore, it is the duty of the Government to take care that the common people shall not be grossly ignorant.[69]

The state, already remiss in its educational duties, had no choice but to resort to “the dread of the sword and the halter” in punishing those responsible for such breaches of public order, “since we had omitted to take the best way of keeping these people quiet.” [70]

The Regeneration of the Arab

The regeneration of the Arab is being accomplished in more ways than one. Apart from the direct processes, of which the school and the prison are instruments, other influences, less direct but still powerful, are ceaselessly at work to mould his character. These influences, which may be summed up as the environment of Western society, spread along the track of the railroad and the telegraph over the country at large.

Faith in the power of education to mold not only individual character, but the very fabric of society, had spread like Methodist revival during the latter half of the nineteenth century, and was brought actively to bear on the problems of rural and urban social control both domestically and in the far-flung regions of the Empire. As Foucault and Mitchell have shown, older forms of threat and punishment came to be considered not only cruel, but inefficient, and strategies based on discipline, organization, and moral intervention were tested as alternatives to brute force. In March of 1883, at the urging of Lord Dufferin, the Egyptian Khedive Tawfiq Pasha issued a decree to local notables and officers of his government abolishing the use of the courbash, a tough hippopotamus-hide whip, for the punishment of criminals, the extortion of confessions, or the collection of taxes in arrears. The abolition, dubbed by Cromer a “remarkable reform—if I may apply the word reform to what is really nothing less than a social and administrative revolution,” [72] was hailed as a triumph of humanitarian government even though the more immediate result was, in the words of the deputy-inspector of Alexandria, “that Mudirs [local Egyptian officials] and police officers are not now as much feared as they should be.” [73] The vice- consul of Damietta reported to Cairo that

the effect…is apparent in a steadily growing exhibition of a higher moral tone, and hopeful feeling, a feeling that they are being cared for, in a way they have hitherto been totally unaccustomed to; they are grateful…and there is every reason to hope that by a careful continuance of the efforts being made in their behalf they will become a prosperous, contented, and loyal people.[74]

But the majority of local administrators were less sanguine. In general, provincial officials replied to Cromer's queries about the abolition by saying that, as a result, “insolence and offences have increased, especially among the lower classes”; that it helps “lead them to shirk duty, and thus further aid to embarrass the present regime of the Government, and bring about the present deadlock in the public finances”; that the effect of the change “has been to increase crime and weaken authority.” [75] The British consul Spencer Carr wrote explaining the breakdown of authority and the uselessness of concurrent British reform of the prisons:

The summary suppression of the courbash has had a very bad effect on the population, as by this measure the Sheikhs of villages have been deprived of most of their power and authority, and the fellahs [peasants], having no fear of the whip, and being improvident and lazy by nature, it is a very difficult matter, under the present regime, to compel them to do their duty, especially as the reorganization of the prisons has rendered them so comfortable that the fellah has no longer any fear of imprisonment, and makes no secret of saying that he is better treated in prison than at home, and the only privation he has to put up with is the temporary separation from his harem.[76]

This paradoxical increase in the crime rate, which continued to rise throughout the Occupation, went along with an increasing prosperity that Cromer was certain had filtered to the countryside. By the early years of the twentieth century, the problem of “brigandage” that had plagued cultivated regions of Egypt in the past had disappeared with the creation of an effective standing army. The main trouble in rural areas now was property crime and acts of vengeance: the burning of neighbor's crops or houses, the poisoning of cattle, attempted murder, or false accusations. Noting that Britons were more likely to associate crime with poverty and alcohol than with rising living standards, the consul general attributed the problem to envy and to vengeance for personal quarrels. Referring in 1905 to “the special economic and moral phase through which Egypt and the Egyptians are now passing,” Cromer optimistically concluded that “improved education and the general spread of enlightenment…constitute the ultimate remedies” to the problem of rural crime.[77]

The expectation of an educational remedy for crime was not confined to Lord Cromer, who might be expected, like his fellow litterateur Macaulay, to attribute moral betterment to liberal study. When Horatio Herbert Kitchener, engineer, professional soldier, and war hero, took the consul generalcy from Sir Eldon Gorst in 1911, he complained bitterly of the police problems plaguing Asyut, the province with the highest crime rate in the country. Reporting that there were 297 murders or attempted murders in that province alone in 1911, Kitchener lamented,

Human life appears to be of little account, and the most trifling incidents result in homicide. Only recently a man who expostulated with his neighbor for crossing the end of his garden was murdered the same afternoon for no other or better reason. Such crimes, arising from sudden quarrels, family feuds, or revenge, have little connection with public security, and it is difficult to cope with them. They can only be finally checked by the spread of education and civilised ideas.[78]

Again in 1912 he illustrated Asyut's problems by citing the case of a woman murdered “for refusing to give a glass of water, a man for taking a handful of flour.” In Behera, Gharbia, and Girga, murders were committed for the stealing of single ears of corn, dates, an errant sheep eating a neighbor's clover. These offenses, incomprehensible to the European, “can only be finally eradicated by the spread of education and enlightenment.” [79] Changes in the rural economy during the nineteenth century, including the extension of year-round commercial cultivation to much of the delta, necessitated the movement of agricultural workers from regions of Upper Egypt, where slack periods in the agricultural cycle still created available labor. While such workers had long been forced to perform corvée labor both locally and in faraway regions like the Suez canal, this system was declining due to pressure from delta landowners to retain the labor of their own peasants year-round and not let them work elsewhere. This meant that workers from the south were increasingly contract laborers induced with wages and lacking the sort of supervision that accompanied the corvée. Landowners, complaining that such itinerant workers tended to criminal pursuits, thus looked kindly on efforts to extend mechanisms of socialization that promised to domesticate and render workers susceptible to efficient administrative controls rather than clumsy physical ones.[80]

Moreover, the peasant's abandonment of false ideas and primitive customs would have an invigorating effect on the maintenance of public security as well as on the progress of the economy. Lord Curzon, viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905, linked ignorance and disorder in a 1901 speech in which he held that lack of knowledge was “the source of suspicion, superstition, outbreaks, crime—yes, and also of much of the agrarian discontent and suffering of the masses.” [81] Not confining their optimism to a merely theoretical expectation of enlightenment through mass education, the British imported two practical new institutions to Egypt using instruction as a specific remedy for crime. The first was the Boys' Reformatory, founded in Alexandria in 1895 and moved to Giza three years later. Under the supervision of the British director of prisons, the reformatory was established to remove “the evils, attendant on a system in which juveniles are mixed up with adult prisoners.” [82] John Scott, in a report to the consul general on the state of the reformatory, proposed that a strict age requirement be set for the inmates of the facility since experience had shown that “manhood with its qualities and defects arrives soon in southern climates, and permanent moral influences can only be obtained over boys of tender age.” [83]

The reformatory's young inmates cultivated its garden, cleaned the buildings and were drilled daily in gymnastics, attending school in the morning to learn the elements of reading and writing. Workshops taught carpentry and other manual trades so the boys could “have an honest means of livelihood when they go back to the world.” Some years after its founding, the good work of the reformatory “elicited the special commendation of a high British authority on educational matters,” [84] and a new, expanded reformatory was constructed in 1905.[85]

The other establishment for the direct educational amelioration of crime came after the First World War, when an “industrial farm school” was established in Khanka Province, built with surplus military supplies. Large enough for several dozen adolescent boys, the farm school was intended to house destitute urban children at risk of falling into lives of petty crime. Between November of 1918 and the November following, Sir Edmund Allenby noted, Cairo police had reported over nine hundred thefts by children between the ages of nine and fifteen, and estimated that “500 vagabond juveniles could be collected at any time off the Cairo streets.” In explaining the need for the school, he wrote,

The problem [of juvenile vagrancy] can only be solved by education and training in suitable schools…[where] the younger and more promising of the waifs and strays could be sent. Instruction would necessarily be of a very elementary character combined with the simplest of regimes under which cleanliness, decent living, the formation of good habits, and training for livelihood would be the chief aims. For girls, domestic work, with such simple manual trades as straw plaiting and basket work, and for boys, such trades as tailoring, boot and shoe making, carpentry and weaving would be the chief subjects of instruction.[86]

Wild Fanatics and Impostors

But a second police concern was far more serious than the commission of petty crimes by children, or even jealous murders in Egypt's isolated villages. This was the question of political uprisings, often associated with religious zealotry. The Mahdist rebellion in the Sudan in 1881, and Colonel Ahmed ‘Urabi's army revolt shortly afterward had sensitized the British to the ease with which Egyptians could be mobilized around a charismatic leader. A permanent solution to the possibility of revolt was clearly not to be found solely in an expensive increase of the British garrison, so foreign officials sought ways to immunize the masses against political or religious excitement. Writing to the earl of Granville in February 1883, Lord Dufferin noted that the villages of Egypt “have more than once been the birthplace of wild fanatics and impostors, who have passed themselves off upon the simple population as endowed with supernatural mission.” [87] Consistent with Adam Smith's charge, ignorance increased susceptibility to political enthusiasms. A year later, the earl of Northbrook expressed similar feelings to Granville, adding that “Mahomedans who are instructed in the tenets of their religion have always looked upon [the Mahdi] as an impostor; any feeling in his favour was confined to the lower classes.” [88] But even the landowning classes could not be trusted, in their natural state of ignorance, with the new representative institutions to be introduced to Egypt in place of the terror of the courbash and the scourge of arbitrary rule. Dufferin feared that a local body modeled on the House of Commons “would simply prove an uninstructed and unmanageable mob, with a very low level both of character and intelligence, incapable of discussing public business or of understanding finance, and to which it would be dangerous to accord anything but the most restricted privileges.” [89] Even were such classes to benefit from some sort of higher education, India had taught the British that an unregulated native intelligentsia was a potential political liability, and that higher education could essentially act as a system for manufacturing indigenous leaders (always referred to in contemporary records as “demagogues”) who would contest foreign influence.

By the mid-1890s officials were beginning to express unease that, “year by year, as higher education increases, the intellectual breach between the upper and lower classes of Egyptian society becomes wider.” [90] The political danger inherent in such a gap, together with the hope that the spread of basic education would hasten the success of economic development projects, created pressure for a rational program of popular schooling, “so that the people may be rendered accessible to ideas other than those sanctioned by tradition.” [91]

The time seems now to have come for the introduction of practical measures which would aim at bringing the great mass of the people within the range of the influence of the Public Instruction Department.…In particular, the little private schools (“kuttabs”) attached to almost all the mosques in Egypt, might, by means of the Grant-in-Aid system, be made instrumental in disseminating a sound education, however elementary, among the poorer classes.[92]

Noting the limited scope of the kuttabs and the lack of formal training and certification of their teachers, Cromer yet concluded that “it is more to the point to bear in mind that these little schools have proved their utility by their continuous survival in spite of the neglect, contempt, and other adverse circumstances to which they have for centuries been exposed.” [93] The grant-in-aid system, used both in England and in India for decades, would not provide financial aid for each school that applied, but would bring inspected schools into competition with each other for available money, and thus, it was assumed, improve their standards with the incentive of possible future reward. Through this program, the country's multitude of isolated kuttabs would be changed into “an organization of cheap but efficient elementary schools, in which is given an essential but limited amount of religious instruction, together with a course of secular instruction designed merely to equip the pupil with sufficient knowledge to take care of his own interests in his own station of life.” [94]

In April of 1895 the Department of Public Instruction began its experiment with the subvention of kuttabs, having forty-six of the schools transferred to its administration from the Ministry of Religious Endowments, and publishing, the following September, a set of regulations and a syllabus for study. Agreeing to open their schools to monthly inspection by the department, “fiqis” (fuqaha’, sing. fiqhi; literally “jurist/theologian,” but used popularly to refer to a Qur’an reciter and teacher) became eligible to receive small grants based on enrollment, provided that they concentrated on reading, writing, and arithmetic, and that no foreign language instruction was attempted.[95] Inspectors were to be drawn, “to command the confidence of the native community, and to be in full sympathy with the teachers,…from the class who have received at least part of their education in the El-Azhar or some other mosque school.” [96]

One of the more sensitive issues to confront the reformers of the kuttab was the question of what to do—or not to do—about the actual content of instruction. It was decided early on not to interfere with the primarily religious focus of the kuttab, the British assuming that to do so would “inflame public opinion.” “It is hardly necessary to point out,” Cromer wrote, “how much tact, prudence, and caution are called for in making any attempt to direct or encourage these indigenous schools. There must, of course, be an entire abstinence from interference with religious instruction.” [97] Fortunately, along with the systematization of the scattered rural institutions came the mania for regulation and record- keeping so characteristic of the British, and passed by them to the professional classes of their foreign territories. Consuls general soon found that they could use regulations and statistics as rhetorical weapons against any who might claim that the extension of ministerial control to the kuttabs undermined their original mission.

There cannot, in fact, be a doubt that, far from the introduction of any process of deterioration, religious instruction has shared in the general improvement which has taken place in the schools under Government control. I may mention that, in order to qualify for the post of head-teacher in a Mohamedan “kuttab,” a thorough knowledge of the Koran and of the principles of Islam is required.[98]

Three years later, in 1906, Cromer elaborated on the improvement, explaining that

a scheme of practical instruction in the principles and religious history of Islam has been introduced into these schools, and an endeavor has been made generally to improve and vitalize the religious instruction.…If we take as a test facility for repeating the Koran by heart—a point to which the Moslem inhabitants of this country attach great importance—the following figures speak for themselves. At the last annual inspection of the Kuttabs, no less than 4,531 of the pupils were able to recite the whole of the Koran from memory, 3,538 were able to recite more than three-quarters, 4,180 more than a half, and 6,212 more than a quarter. The remainder of the scholars, being of very tender years, were at the spelling stage, or were learning the earlier chapters of the Koran.[99]

Despite this happy state of affairs, there were those who criticized the continued predominance of religious instruction as a misdirection of effort for schools that were intended to draw the peasantry into modern—albeit still local—pursuits and practical states of mind. Less than a decade after the grant-in-aid program got under way, complaints were surfacing that the inspected kuttabs were failing in their new role as “useful village and district schools” to produce useful village and district citizens. In 1904, of the 124,486 pupils in inspected kuttabs, “81,000 had received no instruction in writing, 70,000 had not commenced to learn arithmetic, and 54,000 had not even begun to learn to read”;[100] at the following year's inspection these figures stood at 94,000, 87,000, and 68,000, respectively, out of 145,694 students, slightly worse on the whole than the previous year.[101]

At the same time, there was unease about the school's response to changes in the economy. With indigenous manufactures rapidly declining and the demand for European-style wares increasing, it became clear that some of the previously agricultural population would have to be shifted to other productive pursuits. Products of the kuttab, however, seemed not to be interested. Writing in the context of a new movement to bring simple industrial education into the rural kuttabs through a system of “supervised apprenticeship” (an idea championed by a former missionary and long-time advisor to the Ministry of Education), the consul general explained that the current system of kuttab education was being abused to the detriment both of its clients and the wider society.

The influence of the “Kuttabs” has hitherto tended to divert the children of the poor from their natural avocations in the fields, or in the family workshops, and to embark them upon a career generally lapsing into mendicancy. The children flock to the “Kuttabs,” not to receive instruction, which will fit them for their position in life, but to commit to memory the whole of the Koran, and thereby, as reputed “fikis,” to escape from liability to military conscription. And, in Egypt, a “fiki,” unless he be attached [as] a reader to a “Kuttab,” and, except for casual employment in reciting the Koran at funerals and festivals, is virtually a beggar.[102]

Despite appreciable gains, Egyptians seemed not to be utilizing their new intellectual resource for the intended purpose, and their persistence in having habits and ideas the British wished them not to, earned them repeated criticism for “credulity.” In 1909 Sir Eldon Gorst castigated the Cairene press for trying to “arouse the passions of the mass of the people, who are, and must remain for years to come, far too ignorant to appreciate the absurdities and the falseness of the diatribes which are read out to them daily in the villages.” [103] Clearly, voluntary education would not suffice for the eradication of a dangerous political innocence. More intensive measures were necessary. But it was not until near the end of the First World War that the Egyptian minister of education, Adly Yeghen (a member of the old Turco-Circassian political elite), charged a committee of experts with studying the systematic universal extension of elementary schooling throughout the country. The commission was appointed at the end of May 1917, and consisted of six Egyptians, functionaries in various ministries, educators, and provincial officials; and five Englishmen employed in the Egyptian civil service. It was under the presidency of Isma‘il Hassanein Pasha, the under secretary of state in the Ministry of Education.[104] In their preface outlining the need for universal elementary education, the authors quoted liberally from the works of contemporary reformers on the vital interest of new nations in the eradication of illiteracy and the spread of modern skills. But they also pointed out the political dangers inherent in allowing the continued ignorance of large populations, using examples from India, Russia, and America.

Inevitably, the commission relied heavily on Lord Cromer's experience in Egypt, as expressed in his memoir of the period, Modern Egypt. In discussing the political ramifications of educational policy, the committee selected a passage from Cromer that first referred approvingly to Macaulay's policy in India, and then explained,

If [higher education] is to be carried on without danger to the State, the ignorance of the masses should be tempered pari passu with the intellectual advance of those who are destined to be their leaders. It is neither wise nor just that the people should be left intellectually defenceless in the presence of the hare-brained and empirical projects which the political charlatan, himself but half-educated, will not fail to pour into their credulous ears. In this early part of the twentieth century, there is no possible general remedy against the demagogue except that which consists in educating those who are his natural prey to such an extent that they may, at all events, have some chance of discerning the imposture which but too often lurks beneath his perfervid eloquence and political quackery.[105]

The commission, writing in 1919, added ominously that “the recent history of Russia supplies a tragic illustration of this danger in actual operation.” The frequent identity of rural crime and political protest in Egypt was not recognized by the British administration.[106] But the connection between the “perfervid eloquence” of the demagogue and the mobilization of popular unrest certainly was. Paradoxically, their solution to the problem was not to quarantine the infectious enthusiasm of the “political quack,” but rather to inoculate the populace against his harangues. Through education, the public could not only be convinced of the value of order and stability, but could, through the inculcation of new skills and habits of thought, be drawn into a new set of social relationships that would give them a vested interest in the maintenance of a new system of class relations.

Work: The Observation of Facts

Macaulay was not alone in his confidence in the power of education to pacify the laboring beasts of the Smithfield market, and children were not alone in benefiting from learning. In fact, Macaulay's speech came late in the movement to reconcile England's laboring population to the necessities of the new industrial order. Beginning in 1823 with the foundation of the London Mechanic's Institute, worker self- help societies and employer-sponsored literacy and technical training programs began to serve England's urban work force; by 1860, two hundred thousand students were attending such institutes in England, with similar developments in France. In addition to service as a moral prophylactic, the supporters of the worker education movement extolled education's contribution to the development of manual dexterity, observation, and other skills that would increase industrial productivity.

Such concrete skills and scientific methods of thought were the very opposite of the wild surges of intemperance and violence to which the working classes, lacking self-control as well as self-respect, were assumed to be subject. In the early 1860s, while the French minister of education Victor Duruy was busy trying to increase the enrollment in French worker training courses, the Académie des sciences morales et politiques asserted that “it is from instruction that we must ask the appeasement of the passions, of which ignorance has always been and remains the first source.” [107] The discipline of study, observation of his surroundings, and meditation on his condition were to create in the worker a concern for the immediate, an appreciation for the proper management of resources and the natural consequences of improvidence. Contemporaries hoped education would not only reduce levels of drunkenness and crime, but “would bring the worker to respect property rights and to understand the inevitability of inequality in the world. Some [worker education] institutes offered courses in political economy in order to help workers revise their “erroneous views” on the nature of capitalism.” [108] The same benefits could accrue to residents in Britain's overseas possessions, but only after education broke down old social bonds and reconnected them in ways more conducive to a European outlook and the necessities of a presumably more rational political and economic system. In India, the directors of missionary schools wrote to their sponsors of the salutary effects of education in weakening traditional authority structures. As in England, some thought that the teaching of political economy might “contribute vitally to the undermining of “the all comprehending framework of superstition in this land” by challenging received views on marriage, employment, and labour.” [109]

Shortly before the First World War, Consul General Lord Kitchener derided Egyptian elementary education for still being excessively “bookish,” and held that schools should have pragmatic aims, such as encouraging the spread of savings banks in villages and teaching careful fiscal habits to keep the peasant out of debt “without inducing him to leave the land.” [110] The value of schooling lay in “the discipline which the character and the intellect undergo thereby.” Hearkening back to the worker education movement in Europe, he championed “manual exercises [that] train the eye to accuracy in observation, the hand to skill in execution, and the mind to a sense of the importance of truthfulness in work. They cultivate habits of diligence, neatness, and attention to detail, and quicken the general intelligence.” [111] In 1919 the Egyptian Commission on Elementary Education repeated that rural schools

should be modern and practical in their methods and aims. Government would clearly not be justified in eventually imposing compulsory attendance unless the education provided in the schools was such as would make the children better able to earn their livelihood in practical directions, in which all his faculties will be awakened and developed and he will be made capable of understanding and doing as well as of repeating from memory.[112]

Again citing the lessons of British India, the report quoted Mr. Orange, a former director general of education in India, that popular schools should first aim at forming good citizens, then at imparting “useful knowledge, not forgetting while doing so to train the eye and the hand so that the children when they leave school, whether for the field or the workshop, will have begun to learn the value of accurate observation and to feel the joy of intelligent and exact work.” [113] In thus encouraging instruction in manual skills, colonial education policy matched domestic policy. Merely by substituting an “external proletariat” of foreign subjects for the domestic working class, policymakers could transfer almost unchanged many of the techniques and philosophical foundations of European-style mass schooling from home to abroad and back again.[114] Observers even compared Egyptian schools favorably with their English counterparts when efforts had been made to match curriculum to local needs. Villiers Stuart, who had visited the country in 1883–84 as a member of Lord Dufferin's fact-finding mission, toured the country again in the 1890s, and saw the government primary schools at Esna and Zagazig, noting that the classrooms were

surrounded with large coloured cartoons on technical subjects, illustrating various trades, such as bread-making, cooking, weaving, tailoring, hat- making, laundry-work, printing &c…some knowledge of these arts is more likely to be useful to them and to interest them than the stock subjects with which village children are crammed at home, such as the precise position of Kamschatka or the distance of the moon.[115]

Education in the “village schools,” mostly kuttabs under inspection, and those few under the direct control of the Ministry of Education, now had a dual purpose: religious instruction, their original task, and a new one set for them by the new regime: “to equip the pupil with sufficient knowledge to take care of his own interests in his own station of life, as small land-owner, fellah, petty shop-keeper, handicraftsman, weaver, village headman, boatman, fisherman”; their curriculum could not be extended beyond these needs “without lifting the schools above the needs of the classes for whom they are primarily intended.” [116] The notion that “sufficient knowledge” to carry out any of these pursuits was best attained through schools testifies to a sweeping change in what it meant to be an Egyptian. No longer were traditional means of socialization into village life considered to be sufficient preparation. In assuming a parental role, appropriating to itself the definition of competency to take care of one's own interests, the state could now promulgate specific curricula satisfying the requirements of any “station in life” as defined on the national level. In the new rural social order, the peasant, the small shopkeeper, and the ‘umda (mayor, or village headman) were viewed as equivalent in terms of the type of training they needed. Seen from Cairo, their differences were swamped by the rise of an indigenous class of technocrats and clerks with primary and secondary school certificates.

This practical outlook on popular instruction, adapted to the limited needs and capacities of “the lower orders,” was reinforced late in the century by British historian William Lecky's two-volume Democracy and Liberty, which Cromer admired enough to quote both in his Annual Report for 1904, and later in Modern Egypt. “The great mistake in the education of the poor,” Lecky wrote,

has in general been that it has been too largely and too ambitiously literary. Primary education should…teach the poor to write well and to count well; but, for the rest, it should be much more technical and industrial than literary, and should be more concerned with the observation of facts than with any form of speculative reasoning or opinions. There is much evidence to support the conclusion that the kinds of popular education which have proved morally, as well as intellectually, the most beneficial have been those in which a very moderate amount of purely mental instruction has been combined with physical or industrial training.[117]

Lecky also drew the attention of the members of the postwar Egyptian Commission on Elementary Education, who cited a passage in which the author praised education for diverting individuals from vice and temptation, and for “cultivat[ing] the civic and industrial virtues.” [118] An empirical orientation to the world would produce a laboring class whose interests were local, without any use for “speculative reasoning or opinions,” whose passions were held in check and who exhibited such concern for thrift, temperance, and obedience as was required of useful members of society. The transformation of individual character went hand in hand with the transformation of the social order.

Creation of a well-functioning social machine in turn required the differentiation of parts: “Industrial conditions require to be adjusted to the new order of things,” wrote the consul general in 1904, “and among the needs for this adjustment is the creation of a numerous and well- trained artisan class, possessing an education of at least the “Kuttab” grade, and of a restricted but better educated and more highly qualified class, capable of acting as designers, foremen, and managers.” [119] An interest in maintaining the Egyptian class system, or, in fact, remodeling it after the British, in which the lower orders had become literate (and thus better able to serve their purpose), was one of the vital functions of the new school system. By drawing the population into a new division of labor, they would be made dependent not only on the new material goods and new criteria for status differentiation that the system brought with it, but on the new system of schooling that helped create it. But even ancient occupations and stations in life could be perfected through educational refinement. The value of literacy, defined by its contribution to morality, efficiency, and order, lay not in its provision of an avenue to individual emancipation, but in its ability to reinforce a comfortable hierarchy. In this connection W. Basil Worsfold penned near the end of the nineteenth century one of the most moving paeans on record to the lofty purposes of British educational policy in its overseas empire. Marking an increased Nubian interest in the study of English after the British victory at Omdurman, Worsfold rhapsodized,

The English language has become very popular in the primary schools of the towns, while within the last few years a commencement of a genuine system of national education has been made by the endeavor of the Education Ministry to utilize and regenerate the mosque schools—the Kuttabs—which form the sole resource of the small towns and villages. If the regeneration of the Kuttab brings with it the education of the hitherto neglected girls, a new era of moral and intellectual development will ensue, and one of the results of this development will be to provide a new and more reliable class of [domestic] servants.[120]

Women: An Educated and Enlightened Motherhood

Finally, having addressed the moral needs of the pupil, the ignorance of the criminal, the enthusiasm of the malcontent, and the diligence of the worker, the school was directed to a final group whose betterment represented perhaps the best hope for the reconstruction of the nation. In 1831–32, when the French expatriate Clot Bey established within his four-year-old School of Medicine a division for the training of midwives, he could find no females in Egypt willing to attend the institute. Fortunately, Egypt's social structure still allowed for the creative staffing of such experiments, and the problem was solved by the enrollment of “ten Abyssinian and Sudanese girls bought in the Cairo slave market, together with two eunuchs sent by Muhammad Ali from his palace.” [121] By the beginning of the twentieth century, the supporters of female education had, by their own estimation, made great strides. In 1905, for example, there were eight times more schools admitting girls, and six times more female students, than just five years before.[122] In order to encourage female participation in schools, government grants-in-aid (disbursed on the basis of enrollment) counted the attendance of one girl as equal to two boys.

Officials cited increasing demand by parents for facilities for the education of girls as one of the most surprising and heartening developments in the educational field, and strove to provide practical programs in “housewifery” or “domestic economy,” hygiene and child care in addition to basic training in reading, writing, and arithmetic. But they saw the provision of female education as more than an issue of equal access to public facilities, or even an issue of public health (the combating of high infant mortality through basic health education). Predictably, Victorians were both fascinated and repelled by “oriental” systems of marriage and family life, particularly by polygamy and the seclusion of women. When discussing outreach to Muslim lands, missionaries often made the degradation of women through polygyny—rather than doctrinal questions—the central justification for Christian proselytization. “Time would fail me to enter into the whole subject of the marriage relationship in the Mohammedan races,” declaimed the Reverend Robert Bruce at an 1888 London conference on Protestant missions,

and of the evils which spring from the immense difference between the glorious state which our Lord introduced into Christianity when He raised woman to her proper state in society, and on the other hand, the opposite effect in Mohammedanism, caused by Mohammed when he degraded women even lower than she had ever been before.[123]

His colleague, the Reverend G. E. Post, M.D., of the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut, articulated later that day the theoretical basis for missionary concern with women:

Women determine the social condition of any country and any race. No race has risen above the condition of its women, nor can it ever be so in the history of the world. The boy is father of the man, but the woman is mother of the boy, and she determines the whole social state, not only of her own generation, but of the generations that are to follow.[124]

The environment of the harem, “with its unpalatable gossip and frequent intrigue,” was felt to be psychologically damaging to young boys raised in its midst, to predispose young girls to idleness and mental deterioration, and to be harmful to social life in general.[125] “The element in [the Egyptian boy's] education which is lacking is that imparted by an educated, pure, and dignified motherhood,” who realizes “the important part she should play in her son's home education and moral training, from his infancy upwards.” [126] The work of regenerating Egypt, therefore, required a regenerated Egyptian woman who could take advantage of a state-sponsored education “aim[ed] at preparing them for the duties of home-life.” [127] This, in turn, called for an alteration of the family unit that would allow girls not only to attend school, but to stay in school, and to help filter new ideas and outlooks into the heart of the family. The challenge was to open up the family to the modern influences that were beginning to encompass the rest of the social order, to crack open the shell of secrecy and isolation past which reformers had not been able to see, and expose the family, the last remaining stronghold of native male authority, to the rule of law and progress. “It is not possible,” wrote Cromer, near the end of his tenure in Egypt,

neither perhaps is it desirable, that every feature of national character should undergo a complete transformation in a quarter of a century. In so rapid a process, the good is very liable to disappear with the bad. Nevertheless,… forces are now at work which have already modified, and must eventually still further modify, the Egyptian national character.…How far the movement now rapidly progressing in favour of female education will eventually modify the ideas, the character, and the position of the next generation of Egyptian women remains to be seen. Should any changes in their position take place, it is greatly to be hoped that they will be gradual.…In this case, hurry might produce a moral cataclysm. Nevertheless, it is…true that, until a gradual change is effected in the position of women in this country, the Egyptians, however much they may assimilate the outward forms, can never hope to imbibe the true spirit of European civilization in its best aspects.[128]

For missionaries, Leila Ahmed writes, the targeting of women with the Christian message would lay a trail of gunpowder into the heart of Islam and prepare the way for the conversion of future generations. For colonial administrators, this “Colonial feminism, or feminism as used against other cultures in the service of colonialism,” [129] complemented what might be called “colonial populism,” their expression of concern for the fate of the peasantry whom they wished to liberate from the grip of landowners and local officials in order more efficiently to extract their labor for production directed toward a world market. But in either case, whether for the Christianization or the rationalization of Egyptians, an emphasis on educating women as potential mothers was a strategy that promised revolutionary results. It endures today, as a vision of a back door to cultural change, in economic and social development schemes of many types, and has been articulated by colonizers of Muslim populations well into the 1980s. “[I]n the tradition that has evolved [in Central Asia],” wrote Soviet Islamic specialist Sergei Poliakov in 1989,

the woman is the chief shaper of the next generation. By depriving this educator of a public life, traditionalism also deprives her of new information; in fact, it deprives her of any information that is not controlled by the traditional institutions of the village. The subject of the major role women play in the material education of children has been overlooked by theory and practice alike, but it is precisely here that we may find the foundation of all our mistakes, failures, and powerlessness, in atheistic and other propaganda.[130]


At the beginning of this chapter I stated that Mitchell's Foucauldian analysis of Egyptian schools, focusing on the theoretical principles behind mass education and its disciplinary conventions, was inadequate to understand the school's ambiguous role in Egyptian society. While it is true both that increasing numbers of students were enrolled in public education projects during the latter nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and that the patrons and planners of such projects hoped they would thereby become useful, productive, and contented citizens, it does not follow from this that the latter goal was necessarily achieved. Nor does it follow that no other, unanticipated results were achieved by the institution of mass schooling. As Mitchell himself recognized, even though the colonial order penetrated local discourse “through its textbooks, school teachers, universities, newspapers, novels and magazines,” still

this colonising process never fully succeeded, for there always remained regions of resistance and voices of rejection. The schools, universities and the press, moreover, like the military barracks, were always liable to become centres of some kind of revolt, turning the colonisers' methods of instruction and discipline into the means of organized opposition. (Hence the rise after the First World War of disciplinary political movements opposed to European occupation, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, whose leaders were almost invariably school teachers.)[131]

As another example, the role of Egyptian schools as cradles of nationalist sentiment and the consequent participation of students in nationwide anti-British strikes and demonstrations in March and October of 1919 gave officials pause and indicates some discrepancy between theory and practice. The dilemma of “disciplinary spread” from the point of view of political and cultural elites is, as we saw in the introduction, a serious problem, and highlights the inability of policymakers and educators to reconcile reality to their theories about it. If schools, universities, the press, and the military barracks act as centers of revolt, it is because the spread of their unique disciplinary practices across the whole of society is accompanied by the spread of the distinctly new techniques and potentials for revolt associated with them. A new system of power uniformly diffused, serves, among other things, to surround dominant classes with new sources of anxiety and threat. One way of tracing the historical genesis of the Jihad group that assassinated Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981 leads back to Sadat's own encouragement of Islamic student organizations on Egyptian university campuses in the early 1970s, which he intended to wipe out the leftist organizations who supported the policies of his predecessor, Gamal ‘Abd al-Nasser.[132] Quickly losing control over the forces he had purposely unleashed, Sadat engaged throughout the decade in a series of repressions and rapprochements with Islamist and other opposition groups that resulted in the alienation of substantial portions of the country's intelligentsia and eventually in his death at the hands of members of his own military. Neither the barracks nor the school had done its job.

So society's elites as well as its working classes are caught up in the “self-damnation” (the image is Paul Willis's) of contradictory process of cultural and social reproduction. If the working classes help reproduce their own subordination, so cultural and political elites regularly make choices that threaten their own power in the very attempt to ensure its spread. By relying on techniques of power that are “slow, uninterrupted and without external manifestation,” [133] imperial and Egyptian elites began in the nineteenth century to relinquish the predictability of control they sought to gain, for as Raymond Williams has pointed out with respect to Europe, “There was no way to teach a man to read the Bible… which did not also enable him to read the radical press” [134] —precisely the problem about which Eldon Gorst complained in 1909.

And yet we continue to face the problem of historical narratives that describe Egypt's passage into “modern” politics and culture (either of the modernization or the Foucauldian brand) as a glacial transformation: homogenous, all-encompassing, and ineluctable. Before continuing with our own narrative of educational change in Egypt, it is worthwhile to pause momentarily and examine this tendency, for it will tell us something important about how scholarship, in creating the objects of its study, often acts to reproduce the very intellectual categories it argues explicitly against. Christopher Herbert, in his recent book Culture and Anomie, has argued—with respect to Williams himself—that “the presumption that history is logically coherent and intelligible, and therefore subject to extensive operations of summary and synthesis without serious distortion,” is mistaken. Instead, history (and its reflection in literature) “is bound to be an affair of paradoxes, dense textures of implication, logical disjunctions and circularities, ambiguities and illegibilities.” [135] While understanding the complexities of history would seem to require not only recognition of this fact, but a conscientious attempt to address it, much historical writing—including some of the most theoretically informed—serves to reproduce standing metanarratives of development with very old historical roots.

With respect to Egypt, this is accomplished in part by downplaying the failures of disciplinary projects that can be used as central examples or tropes of wide-ranging social changes. Mitchell, for example, uses the minute disciplinary conventions of the nineteenth-century Lancaster school—developed in India and Britain to provide cheap instruction for the working classes—as the type specimen of the new Egyptian government school, despite scant evidence that the Lancaster model reached beyond a single model institution in Cairo and the writings of several Egyptian intellectuals and civil servants who had trained in the Lancaster method abroad. Despite the method's enthusiasts, proposals to revive and propagate the model failed.[136] The “model villages” established on rectilinear plans by the French in mid-century, attempting to use army methods in the village “to achieve the new order of the barracks,” are also used as a metaphor for disciplinary encroachment, but in reality these soon broke down and left neither plans nor remains.[137] In fact, again and again the plans made by the new educated elites can be read as a history of spectacular failures rather than insidious successes. Egyptians studying abroad in Europe in the 1830s and hoping to school Egyptians in European philosophies of discipline and development had their proposals for school construction rejected,[138] and those who idealistically translated works on European educational philosophy later became nationalist leaders rejecting European domination.[139]

The developmental sequences read into Egyptian history by Mitchell (and into European history by Foucault), namely, that personal and physical power gives way to disciplinary power, are precisely the same as those read by nineteenth-century evolutionism and twentieth-century modernization theory (arbitrary power gives way to rational power), merely with a different moral evaluation. We need a way to reconcile the confident and commonsense writings and records left to us by history, with the anxious, ambiguous, and asymmetrical experiences those writings reflected and provoked within their lived context. Let me suggest—as a prelude to the textual analyses in the following chapters—that administrative memoirs and educational planning documents are neither descriptive nor strictly hortatory, but performative and hegemonic in Williams's sense, representing

a saturation of the whole process of living…to such a depth that the pressures and limits of what can ultimately be seen as a specific economic, political, and cultural system seem to most of us the pressures and limits of simple experience and common sense.…[Hegemony] is a whole body of practices and expectations, over the whole of living: our senses and assignments of energy, our shaping perceptions of ourselves and our world. It is a lived system of meanings and values—constitutive and constituting—which as they are experienced as practices appear as reciprocally confirming.[140]

This hegemony, the cultural level through which Willis sees structural determinants being mediated, hides structural tensions and cultural contradictions both from subordinate and dominant classes. The articulate ideologies of educational theorists and colonial administrators are among the elite's tools of self-construction, tools they use to create for themselves consistent experiences of inconsistent social processes. But the creation and application of a plan, the attempt to transform reality into the facsimile of a specific text, is a complex process whose results do not simultaneously or efficiently serve all the interests of the dominant groups or classes in society. It is always historically contingent, problematic, and uncertain. Although colonial educational policies were in some ways relatively generic European blueprints for the imposition of social order, most policies were tailored by and for specific populations at specific times. In Egypt, popular schools were restricted to Arabic to prevent flight from the fields, and religion was retained as the primary focus of instruction in inspected kuttabs. In Morocco, on the other hand, French policy toward the education of Berber children made French the language of teaching and prohibited instruction in Arabic and in Islam to prevent alliance of the mountain tribes with the Arabic- speaking Muslims of the plains.[141] In the Arabian desert, education for bedouin children derides nomadic values and practices, stressing urban values and settled life-styles, but the results have not been the settlement of mobile populations, but the avoidance of too much schooling in favor of practical training in the military and a subsequent reinvestment in herding.[142] Each of these policies has had different and largely unforeseeable empirical effects. One of the interesting and significant questions to ask, then, is not about whether strategies of social control are implicit in educational systems (they always are), but how elites use such strategies as part of their self-definition with respect to specific subordinated populations, and how these latter populations appropriate educational systems for their own purposes.

During the course of the nineteenth century the Egyptian kuttab was made to take on new subjects (arithmetic, geography, etc.). It also continued to fulfill its original function, the transmission of religious culture, but in a different way, and with a different manner of articulation to the community and to the state. The development of new forms of teacher training and certification, the institution of “a scheme of practical instruction in the principles and religious history of Islam,” the spread of testing in specific subjects and of inspection and accountability to a distant bureaucracy, all served to alter the social and spiritual role of Islamic instruction. The fiqhi's responsibility to the men who sent their sons to learn from him was first joined, and later replaced, by his responsibility to the Ministry of Education or to the provincial council.

Likewise, these bureaucracies assumed the responsibility to provide for the spiritual and intellectual well-being of individuals in the communities where they aided or administered schools. Thus not only the kuttabs themselves, but the social relationships (between parent and fiqhi) that had constituted them, were functionalized, appropriated by outside forces for the satisfaction of outside ends. In order to effect this and other important transformations in the social and mental life of the Egyptians, schools would in principle have to overcome what Europeans viewed as the cumulative intellectual degradation that education had allegedly suffered through the centuries at the hand of the “barren tradition” of Islam. It is this effort to which we now turn.


1. Quoted in Edwin G. West, “The Benthamites as Educational Engineers: The Reputation and the Record,” History of Political Economy 24, 3 (1992), pp. 595–621. [BACK]

2. Timothy Mitchell, Colonising Egypt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), p. 127). [BACK]

3. Mitchell, Colonising Egypt, p. 64. [BACK]

4. Mitchell, Colonising Egypt, pp. 102, 104. [BACK]

5. Mitchell, Colonising Egypt, pp. 68, 74–75. [BACK]

6. Mitchell, Colonising Egypt, p. 175. [BACK]

7. Charles C. Adams, Islam and Modernism in Egypt (New York: Russell & Russell, 1968), p. 167. [BACK]

8. Herbert Spencer, Principles of Sociology, 3rd ed., vol. 1 (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1899), pp. 584–85. On the relationship between Social Darwinism and imperialism, see Bernard Semmel, Imperialism and Social Reform (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1960), ch. 2. [BACK]

9. Spencer, Principles of Sociology, p. 717. [BACK]

10. Herbert Spencer, “National Education,” in his Social Statics (1850; rpt., New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1892), pp. 156–87; and “State-Education,” in his Facts and Comments (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1902), pp. 82–93. [BACK]

11. Spencer, “State-Education,” p. 82. [BACK]

12. Neil J. Smelser, Social Paralysis and Social Change: British Working-Class Education in the Nineteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991). [BACK]

13. James Heyworth-Dunne, An Introduction to the History of Education in Modern Egypt (London: Luzac & Co., 1938), p. 153. [BACK]

14. Yacoub Artin, quoted in Ibrahim Salama, L'Enseignement islamique en Egypte: Son evolution, son influence sur les programmes modernes (Cairo: Imprimerie Nationale, Boulaq, 1939), p. 207. [BACK]

15. Heyworth-Dunne, Introduction to the History of Education, pp. 152–57. [BACK]

16. For first-rate discussions of this system, see Mitchell, Colonising Egypt, and Messick, The Calligraphic State. [BACK]

17. Heyworth-Dunne, Introduction to the History of Education, p. 157. [BACK]

18. ‘Abd al-Karim, Tarikh al-ta‘lim fi ‘asr Muhammad ‘Ali (Cairo: Maktaba al-nahda al-Misriyya, 1938), pp. 176–80. [BACK]

19. ‘Abd al-Karim, Tarikh al-ta‘lim, pp. 180–81. [BACK]

20. Heyworth-Dunne, Introduction to the History of Education, pp. 195–97, 210–17. [BACK]

21. John Bowring, “Report on Egypt and Candia,” Parl. Pap., 1840, vol. 21, p. 121. [BACK]

22. Heyworth-Dunne, Introduction to the History of Education, pp. 223–33. [BACK]

23. Fritz Steppat, “National Education Projects in Egypt Before the British Occupation,” in Beginnings of Modernization in the Middle East: The Nineteenth Century, ed. William R. Polk and Richard L. Chambers (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968), pp. 289, 295. [BACK]

24. Heyworth-Dunne, Introduction to the History of Education, p. 373. [BACK]

25. Octave Sachot, “Rapport adresse a Son Excellence Monsieur Victor Duruy, Ministre de l'Instruction Publique, sur l'état des sciences, des lettres, et de l'instruction publique in Egypte dans la population indigène et dans la population Européenne” (Paris: n.p., 1868), p. 1. Translation mine. [BACK]

26. And they operated with a foreign curriculum, as well. High school students learned little of local or Islamic history, instead studying “The Awakening of Learning in Europe,” “The Expansion and Spread of the Western Nations,” “The War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War,” etc. See Donald M. Ried, “Turn-of-the-Century Egyptian School Days,” Comparative Education Review 27 (1983), pp. 374–93. [BACK]

27. “Further Correspondence Respecting Reorganization in Egypt,” Parl. Pap., 1883, vol. 83, p. 88. [BACK]

28. See Roger Owen, “The Influence of Lord Cromer's Indian Experience on British Policy in Egypt, 1883–1907,” in Middle Eastern Affairs, ed. Albert Hourani (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965), pp. 109–39. [BACK]

29. Bill Williamson, Education and Social Change in Egypt and Turkey (London: The Macmillan Press, 1987), p. 74. [BACK]

30. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1905, vol. 137, p. 571. [BACK]

31. Lord Macaulay, “On the Government of India,” a speech delivered in the House of Commons on 10 July 1833. In The Works of Lord Macaulay, Complete, vol. 8, ed. Lady Trevelyan (London: Longman, Green, & Co. 1866), p. 141. [BACK]

32. This policy was changed during the tenure of Sa‘d Zaghlul—one of Egypt's most famous nationalist leaders—as minister of public instruction. [BACK]

33. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1902, vol. 130, p. 744. [BACK]

34. The switch to an emphasis on reading, writing, and arithmetic came at the behest of parents. As the Newcastle Commission reported in 1861,

The general principle upon which almost every one who for the last half century has endeavoured to promote popular education has proceeded, has been that a large portion of the poorer classes of the population were in a condition injurious to their own interests, and dangerous and discreditable to the rest of the community; that it was the duty and the interest of the nation at large to raise them to a higher level, and that religious education was the most powerful instrument for the promotion of this object. The parents, on the other hand, cannot be expected to entertain the same view of the moral and social condition of their own class, or to have its general elevation in view. They act individually for the advantage of their respective children; and though they wish them to be imbued with religious principles, and taught to behave well, they perhaps attach a higher importance than the promoters and managers of schools to the specific knowledge which will be profitable to the child in life. It is of some importance in estimating the conduct of the parents to keep this difference of sentiment in view. (Quoted in David Vincent, Literacy and Popular Culture: England, 1750–1914 [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989], p. 86)


35. Vincent, Literacy and Popular Culture, pp. 73–74. [BACK]

36. Spencer, Principles of Sociology, vol. 3, p. 274. The image of the church and the school either as homologues or analogues has been often repeated, e.g., by Durkheim in Moral Education, p. 155; by more recent theorists like Pierre Bourdieu and Jean-Claude Passeron, Reproduction in Education, Society, and Culture (London: Sage, 1977), p. 64; and Eric Hobsbawm, “Mass-Producing Traditions: Europe, 1870–1914,” in The Invention of Tradition, ed. Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), p. 271. [BACK]

37. Vincent, Literacy and Popular Culture, p. 75. [BACK]

38. Vincent, Literacy and Popular Culture, p. 76. [BACK]

39. Quoted in Phillip McCann, “Popular Education, Socialization, and Social Control: Spitalfields, 1812–1824,” in Popular Education and Socialization in the Nineteenth Century, ed. Phillip McCann (London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1977), p. 1. [BACK]

40. Vincent, Literacy and Popular Culture, p. 76. [BACK]

41. Lord Dufferin to the earl of Granville, “Further Correspondence Respecting Reorganization in Egypt,” Parl. Pap., 1883, vol. 83, p. 96. [BACK]

42. Alfred Milner, England in Egypt (New York: Macmillan & Co., 1892), p. 390. The perception of Islam as fanaticism and bigotry was not, of course, confined to Egypt. In Aden, the next geographical stepping-stone on the way from England to India, plans were made in 1856 to start a school to train Arab boys for the civil service and “to attach our bigoted neighbors to us by the community of feelings and interests which must follow in the wake of a sound education.” “If it were possible to give these boys a solid education in their language and ours,” wrote the concerned British official,

the influence for good they may exercise on the next generation is beyond calculation, by it we should instruct them in our system, and attach them by a link which would not be easily severed. Commerce would increase, we should hear no more of stoppage of the roads, and of the frequent paltry squabbles which having their origin in ignorance and bigotry, would cease with the spread of knowledge amongst the people. (Quoted in Z. H. Kour, The History of Aden, 1839–72 [London: Frank Cass & Co., Ltd., 1981], p. 101)


43. Cromer often commented on the incomprehensibility of the Eastern mind.

The ethnologist, the comparative philologist, and the sociologist would possibly be able to give explanations as regards many of the differences between the East and the West. As I am only a diplomatist and an administrator, whose proper study is also man, but from the point of view of governing him rather than from that of scientific research into how he comes to be what he is, I content myself with noting the fact that somehow or other the Oriental generally acts, speaks, and thinks in a manner exactly opposite to the European. (Modern Egypt, vol. 2 [New York: The Macmillan Co., 1908], p. 164)


44. The physical conditions of rural—and urban—popular schools in Egypt and in England were described by contemporaries in strikingly similar Dickensian detail. Compare, for example, Cromer in “Reports on the State of Egypt and the Progress of Administrative Reforms,” Parl. Pap., 1896, vol. 97, p. 1010; with Macaulay in his speech on “Education,” delivered in the House of Commons on 19 April 1847. In The Works of Lord Macaulay, vol. 8, pp. 395–96. [BACK]

45. James A. St. John, Egypt and Nubia (London: Chapman and Hall, 1845), pp. 31–32. [BACK]

46. Viz., the educational theories of Jeremy Bentham, beloved of Foucauldian analysts. In Panopticon, Bentham effused of the possibilities of the Inspection-House as a school, in which “All play, all chattering—in short, all distraction of every kind, is effectually banished.” The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 4, ed. John Bowring (1838–43; rpt., New York: Russell & Russell, 1962), p. 63. [BACK]

47. Amir Boktor, School and Society in the Valley of the Nile (Cairo: Elias' Modern Press, 1936), p. 130. [BACK]

48. Bowring, “Report on Egypt and Candia,” p. 136. [BACK]

49. Florence Nightingale, Letters from Egypt: A Journey on the Nile, 1849–50, ed. Anthony Sattin (New York: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1987), p. 26. [BACK]

50. W. Basil Worsfold, The Redemption of Egypt (London: George Allen, 1899), p. 54. [BACK]

51. Sachot, “Rapport,” p. 4. Translation by Anna Laura Jones. [BACK]

52. Milner, England in Egypt, p. 366. [BACK]

53. Emile Durkheim, Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1912; rpt., New York: Free Press, 1965), p. 15. [BACK]

54. R. R. Marett, The Threshold of Religion (London: n.p., 1914), p. xxxi. [BACK]

55. Salama, L'Enseignement islamique, p. 300. [BACK]

56. For a fuller discussion of European attitudes toward the Egyptian body, see Gregory Starrett, “The Hexis of Interpretation: Islam and the Body in the Egyptian Popular School,” American Ethnologist 22, 4 (November 1995), pp. 953–69. [BACK]

57. Mitchell, Colonising Egypt, p. 86. [BACK]

58. Messick, The Calligraphic State, p. 17. [BACK]

59. See Trygve R. Tholfsen, “Moral Education in the Victorian Sunday School,” History of Education Quarterly 20 (1980), pp. 77–99; and Thomas W. Laqueur, Religion and Respectability: Sunday Schools and Working Class Culture, 1780–1850 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976). [BACK]

60. “I heartily rejoice that the life, the words, and works, and death of the Divine Saviour of the world should be read by children. But that is not the teaching of religion, unless the true meaning and the due intrinsic worth of all these things be taught. But this would perforce be doctrinal Christianity, prohibited by law.” Cardinal Archbishop Henry Edward, “Is the Education Act of 1870 a Just Law?” The Nineteenth Century 12 (December 1882), p. 960. [BACK]

61. William Edward Hartpole Lecky, Democracy and Liberty, vol. 2. (New York: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1896), p. 70. [BACK]

62. Joseph Lancaster, Improvements in Education as It Respects the Industrious Classes of the Community, 3rd ed. (1805; rpt., Clifton, N.J.: Augustus M. Kelley Publishers, 1973), pp. 155–56. [BACK]

63. H. Cunynghame, “The Present State of Education in Egypt,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, n.s., 19 (1887), p. 232. [BACK]

64. Bowring, “Report on Egypt and Candia,” p. 137. [BACK]

65. Milner, England in Egypt, p. 365. [BACK]

66. Macaulay, “Education,” p. 387. [BACK]

67. The quote from Adam Smith, “The more [the inferior ranks of people] are instructed, the less liable they are to the delusions of enthusiasm and superstition, which, among ignorant nations, frequently occasion the most dreadful disorders,” is from the first chapter of book 5 of The Wealth of Nations (New York: Random House, 1965), p. 740. [BACK]

68. Macaulay, “Education,” p. 388. [BACK]

69. Macaulay, “Education,” pp. 388–89. [BACK]

70. Macaulay, “Education,” p. 390. [BACK]

71. W. Basil Worsfold, The Redemption of Egypt (London: George Allen, 1899), p. 143. Apropos the association of schools and prisons, Lord Dufferin had written to the earl of Granville in February of 1883 noting that “the consensus of foreign opinion in this country” supported a statement by an Egyptian leader, “that order in Egypt can only continue to exist under the combined discipline of a couple of foreign schoolmasters and the domestic “courbash,” ”a view with which, it should be acknowledged, he disagreed personally. “Further Correspondence Respecting Reorganization in Egypt,” Parl. Pap., 1883, vol. 83, p. 88. [BACK]

72. Cromer, “Reports on the State of Egypt and the Progress of Administrative Reforms,” Parl. Pap., 1884–85, vol. 89, p. 15. [BACK]

73. Cromer, “Reports,” Parl. Pap., 1884–85, p. 14. [BACK]

74. Cromer, “Reports,” Parl. Pap., 1884–85, p. 13. [BACK]

75. Cromer, “Reports,” Parl. Pap., 1884–85, p. 14. [BACK]

76. Cromer, “Reports,” Parl. Pap., 1884–85, p. 13. [BACK]

77. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1905, p. 1137. [BACK]

78. Kitchener, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1912, vol. 121, p. 31. [BACK]

79. Kitchener, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1913, vol. 81, p. 35. [BACK]

80. See Nathan Brown, “Who Abolished Corvée Labour in Egypt and Why?” Past and Present, no. 144 (August 1994), pp. 116–37. [BACK]

81. Quoted in Ministry of Education, Egypt, Report of the Elementary Education Commission and Draft Law to Make Better Provision for the Extension of Elementary Education (Cairo: Government Press, 1919), p. 7. [BACK]

82. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1899, vol. 112, p. 961. [BACK]

83. J. Scott's memorandum to Cromer, in “Report on the Finances, Administration, and Condition of Egypt and the Progress of Reforms,” Parl. Pap., 1897, vol. 102, p. 536. This idea has had great longevity. As recently as 1943, H. E. Neguib el-Hilali Pasha, the Egyptian minister of education, wrote,

If we take into account the fact that compulsory education begins in England at the age of five and that bodily growth is quicker in Egypt owing to the climate, we see that it is only natural that the compulsory age [of schooling] should begin in this country one year earlier than it actually does, that is, at the end of the sixth year, and end at 13. (Report on Educational Reform in Egypt [Cairo: Government Press, Boulaq, 1943], p. 49)


84. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1903, vol. 87, p. 1014. [BACK]

85. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1905, vol. 102, p. 1150. [BACK]

86. Allenby, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1921, vol. 42, p. 74. See Margaret May, “Innocence and Experience: The Evolution of the Concept of Juvenile Delinquency in the Mid-Nineteenth Century,” Victorian Studies 18 (1973), pp. 7–30; for a contemporary view of the subject of reformatories, see Lord Norton's article, “Schools as Prisons and Prisons as Schools,” The Nineteenth Century 21 (January 1887), pp. 110–18. Statistics were reported annually on the utilization of the Giza Reformatory, including the number of boys and girls confined there, and the disciplinary measures invoked. A typical example (from Gorst's Annual Report for the year 1910): “During the year 3,631 juveniles were whipped (2,589 in 1909). The number of juveniles on the 31st December at the reformatory was 715 (726 in 1909), 647 being boys and 68 girls. The daily average throughout the year being 764.” Parl. Pap., 1911, vol. 103, p. 41. [BACK]

87. “Further Correspondence Respecting Reorganization in Egypt,” Parl. Pap., 1883, vol. 83, p. 89. [BACK]

88. “Further Correspondence Respecting the Affairs of Egypt,” Parl. Pap., 1884–85, vol. 88, p. 230. [BACK]

89. Lord Dufferin to the earl of Granville, “Further Correspondence Respecting Reorganization in Egypt,” Parl. Pap., 1883, vol. 88, p. 93. It is of course instructive to contrast this view with that of Egypt's own educated elite. On 8 October 1866 Nubar Pasha, a future prime minister of the Egyptian government after the British Occupation, had written, “Our parliament is a school, by means of which the government, more advanced than the population, instructs and civilises the population.” Quoted in Mitchell, Colonising Egypt, p. 75. [BACK]

90. Cromer, “Reports on the State of Egypt and the Progress of Administrative Reforms,” Parl. Pap., 1896, vol. 97, p. 1010. [BACK]

91. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1905, vol. 103, p. 1165. [BACK]

92. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1905, pp. 1010–11. [BACK]

93. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1905, pp. 1010–11. [BACK]

94. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1905, p. 1166. [BACK]

95. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1905, p. 1166; also Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1899, vol. 112, p. 1007. [BACK]

96. Cromer, “Reports on the State of Egypt and the Progress of Administrative Reforms,” Parl. Pap., 1898, vol. 107, p. 665. [BACK]

97. Cromer, “Reports on the State of Egypt and the Progress of Administrative Reforms,” Parl. Pap., 1896, vol. 97, p. 1011. [BACK]

98. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1903, vol. 87, p. 1009. [BACK]

99. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1906, vol. 138, pp. 569–70. The following year, “4,432 pupils were able to recite from memory the whole of the Koran, 3,833 more than three-quarters, 4,594 more than one-half, and 7,362 more than one-quarter, whilst 52,893 pupils had reached various stages in the first quarter of the sacred text.” And this at a time when “the total number of children who had reached the age of 13 years was less than 3,000.” Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1903, vol. 100, p. 714. Of the 46,762 students who attended 1913's annual inspection of kuttabs under the control of the Provincial Councils, “1,193 of the pupils were able to recite the whole of the Koran by heart, and 1,212 others at least one-half of the sacred text.” Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1914, vol. 101, p. 44. [BACK]

100. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1905, vol. 103, p. 1165. [BACK]

101. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1906, vol. 137, p. 570. [BACK]

102. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1906, p. 74. [BACK]

103. Gorst, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1909, vol. 105, p. 3. Gorst was extremely sensitive to the political expediency of education. In the same report, he notes that “it is…wise to avoid measures which run counter to the wishes or prejudices of the people until they have been educated up to them” (p. 28), but that the change cannot be rushed, despite those in the country who “believed that, by means of a rapid extension of public instruction, deficiencies which are the inheritance of centuries of ignorance can be made good in a comparatively short time” (p. 38). [BACK]

104. Ministry of Education, Report of the Elementary Education Commission. The members of the commission were: His Excellency Ali Gamal el Din Pasha, mudir of Sharqiya; H. E. Mohammed Allam Pasha, mudir of Asyut; Mr. Patterson, director general of accounts, Ministry of Finance; Mr. Betts, director of the Municipalities and Local Commissions Department, Ministry of the Interior; Mr. McLean, chief engineer of the same department; Mr. Aldred Brown, controller of administrative service, and Mr. Robb, subcontroller of elementary education, both of the Ministry of Education; Mohammed Ali el Maghrabi Bey, the controller of elementary education in the ministry; Mohammed Aatef Barakat Bey, the principal of the Cadis' College; Sheikh Mohammed Cherif Selim, principal of the Nasria Training College, and Hussein Kamel Bey, director of administrative service of the Ministry of the Interior. Adly Yeghen himself was a long-time enthusiast of British causes, having been elected in 1903 as president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, an organization imported to Egypt in the 1890s. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1904, vol. 111, p. 250. [BACK]

105. Cromer, Modern Egypt, vol. 2, pp. 534–35. Quoted in the commission's Report on p. 5. [BACK]

106. Nathan Brown, Peasant Politics in Modern Egypt (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990). [BACK]

107. Quoted in Carter Jefferson, “Worker Education in England and France, 1800–1914,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 4 (1964), p. 355. [BACK]

108. Jefferson, “Worker Education,” p. 346. Vincent provides another example from a British educational manifesto of 1839:

The sole effectual means of preventing the tremendous evils with which the anarchical spirit of the manufacturing population threatens the country is, by giving the working people a good secular education, to enable them to understand the true causes which determine their physical condition and regulate the distribution of wealth among the several classes of society. (P. 83)

The notion that teaching political economy and social science to the masses was a remedy for labor unrest was current in the United States as late as the 1870s; see Richard Hofstadter, Social Darwinism in American Thought (Boston: Beacon Press, 1955), p. 47. [BACK]

109. Andrew Porter, “Scottish Missions and Education in Nineteenth-Century India: The Changing Face of Trusteeship,” The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 16 (1988), p. 44. [BACK]

110. Kitchener, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1912, vol. 121, p. 3. For the same idea in Britain, see Agnes Lambert, “Thrift among the Children,” The Nineteenth Century 19 (April 1886), p. 548. [BACK]

111. Kitchener, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1912, vol. 121, p. 4. [BACK]

112. Ministry of Education, Report of the Elementary Education Commission, p. 26. [BACK]

113. Ministry of Education, Report of the Elementary Education Commission, p. 26. Such training would complement the natural proclivities of the Egyptian student, who

is deficient in inventive capacity, acts from impulse, is wayward and changeable in mind, and…is stunted as to his reasoning faculties, [although]…not without other compensating advantages. He has a vivid imagination, quick perception, and a power of intuitively sympathizing with others. He is therefore by nature more or less of an artist. (Cunynghame, “The Present State of Education in Egypt,” p. 232)


114. On the interchangeability of the domestic worker and the colonial subject, and the consequent spread of “adapted education” projects throughout the empire, from Nigeria to New Zealand, see David Ruddell, “Class and Race: Neglected Determinants of Colonial “Adapted Education” Policies,” Comparative Education 18 (1982), pp. 293–303; and John M. Barrington, “Cultural Adaptation and Maori Educational Policy: The African Connection,” Comparative Education Review 20 (1976), pp. 1–10. [BACK]

115. Villiers Stuart, “Reports…Respecting the Progress of Reorganization in Egypt since the British Occupation in 1882,” Parl. Pap., 1895, vol. 109, pp. 943, 961. [BACK]

116. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1904, vol. 111, p. 267. Quoted also in Williamson, Eduction and Social Change, pp. 81–82. [BACK]

117. Quoted in Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1904, vol. 111, p. 267; also in Modern Egypt, vol. 2, p. 535n. Lecky, though little-known today, was at the time a major figure in the minds of educated Britons; he was, for example, one of the most frequently cited authorities in Darwin's discussion of ethics and society in The Descent of Man. Gertrude Himmelfarb, Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution (New York: Norton, 1962), p. 375. [BACK]

118. Ministry of Education, Report of the Elementary Education Commission, p. 7. [BACK]

119. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1904, vol. 111, p. 269. [BACK]

120. Worsfold, The Redemption of Egypt, p. 195. [BACK]

121. Heyworth-Dunne, Introduction to the History of Education, p. 132. [BACK]

122. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1906, vol. 137, p. 570. [BACK]

123. The Rev. James Johnston, F. S. S., ed., Report of the Centenary Conference on the Protestant Missions of the World (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1889), p. 19. [BACK]

124. Johnston, Report of the Centenary Conference, p. 23. [BACK]

125. Alfred Cunningham, To-Day in Egypt (London: Hurst & Blackett, 1912), p. 221. [BACK]

126. Cunningham, To-Day in Egypt, pp. 221–22. [BACK]

127. Kitchener, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1914, vol. 101, p. 37. [BACK]

128. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1905, vol. 103, pp. 1168–69. [BACK]

129. Leila Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), p. 151. [BACK]

130. Sergei P. Poliakov, Everyday Islam: Religion and Tradition in Central Asia, trans. Anthony Olcott (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1992), pp. 66–67. [BACK]

131. Mitchell, Colonising Egypt, p. 171. [BACK]

132. Ahmad Abdalla, The Student Movement and National Politics in Egypt, 1923–1973 (London: Al-Saqi Books, 1985). [BACK]

133. Mitchell, Colonising Egypt, p. 79. [BACK]

134. Raymond Williams, The Sociology of Culture (New York: Schocken Books, 1981), p. 110. [BACK]

135. Christopher Herbert, Culture and Anomie: Ethnographic Imagination in the Nineteenth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), p. 26. [BACK]

136. Mitchell, Colonising Egypt, p. 74. For a detailed critique of Mitchell's portrayal of the model school's novelty and importance, see pp. 30–40 in my “Our Children and Our Youth: Religious Education and Political Authority in Mubarak's Egypt,” Ph.D. diss., Department of Anthropology, Stanford University, 1991. [BACK]

137. Mitchell asserts, rather oddly, that “there is no need to recount in detail the way in which these practices failed, or the devastation they caused,” Colonising Egypt, p. 42. [BACK]

138. Mitchell, Colonising Egypt, p. 107. [BACK]

139. Mitchell, Colonising Egypt, pp. 101–2. [BACK]

140. Williams, Marxism and Literature, p. 110. [BACK]

141. Wayne Shaefer, “The Responsibility of Berber School Policy for the Troubles of a Franco-Moroccan School,” The Maghreb Review 14 (1989), p. 188. [BACK]

142. William Lancaster, The Rwala Bedouin Today (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp. 102–3. [BACK]

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