Roger Owen Book Award

Zeinab Abul-Magd

Oberlin College

2015 Winner

Zeinab Abul-Magd

Zeinab Abul-Magd

This book is a sophisticated study of resistance to crises and devastation brought about by imperialism and colonialism in Qina province in Upper Egypt.  It is a story not known to most students of Egypt nor of empires.

Based on a wide array of archival and primary sources, including newly available Egyptian archival sources, Abul-Magd debunks myths of empire, showing how these empires, far from achieving their stated goals, brought about destruction and environmental crises.  Covering an extended period from 1500 to the early twenty-first century, Abul-Magd gives a highly readable account of rebellion, sabotage, and imperial ineptitude. 

Imagined Empires reorients the discussion of Egyptian history from a Cairo-centered narrative to one that focuses on ‘subaltern’ actors in southern Egypt.  It is fundamentally a story about how changes in land ownership and trade flows brought about by imperial markets engendered under-development in what was once a relatively prosperous part of Egypt.

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