Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Awards

Ahmad Shokr

New York University

2016 Honorable Mention (Social Sciences)

Ahmad Shokr

Ahmad Shokr

Beyond the Fields: Cotton and the End of Empire in Egypt, 1919-1956,
Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies/History, New York University
Supervised by Zachary Lockman

The 2016 Malcom H. Kerr Dissertation Committee in the Social Sciences received 19 nominations for the award.  The Committee consisted of Mona L. Russell of East Carolina University who served as chair, Marwa Elshakry of Columbia University, and Arang Keshavarzian of New York University.

The winner in the Social Science category is “The Ethics of Israeli Militarism: Soldiers’ Testimony and the Formation of the Israeli Soldier-Subject,” by James Eastwood.  His dissertation was completed at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Department of Politics and International Relations.  It was supervised by Laleh Khalili, Yair Wallach, and Charles Tripp.

The committee also decided to present honorable mention to Dr. Ahmad Shokr for “Beyond the Fields: Cotton and the End of Empire in Egypt, 1919-1956.”  This dissertation was completed at New York University in the Joint Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies/History PhD program and under the supervision of Zachary Lockman.  Dr. Shokr’s project uses cotton production, transportation, regulation, and trade to map the contentious process in which Egypt was simultaneously repositioned in an emergent post-imperial global economy and the state was institutionally reconfigured during a protracted decolonization process.   Based on Egyptian and colonial archives as well as printed sources documenting the writing of agricultural reformers and business interests, the dissertation offers a lucid and detailed discussion of such topics as agricultural cooperatives and credit schemes, the Egyptian State Railway, and trade policy to chart the multiple actors and sites of regulation and accumulation.  Shokr’s narrative disrupts the binaries between the international and national, the market and the state, the rural and the urban.   Meanwhile the bridging of the eras before and after the 1952 Nasserist takeover, offers a new history and interpretation of the developmentalist state.  

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