Egypt in the First World War

Date and time

8 Feb 2018 14:30 to 18:00


Harold Lee Room, Pembroke College, OX1 1DW

This workshop is organised by Pembroke Junior Research Fellow Dr Hussein Omar.

The panel includes: Marilyn Booth, Khaled Fahmy, Christopher Rose, Aaron Jakes and Hussein Omar. 

This event will take place in the Harold Lee Room in Pembroke College at 2.30pm - 6pm on Thursday 8th February 2018.

Despite its apparent contributions, material and otherwise, to the First World War, Egypt remains very marginal to its histories, just as the First World War remains marginal to most Egyptians’ historical imaginary. On the periphery of, but barely itself, the site of combat, Egypt remains virtually absent from the stories of that most global of events. In so far as Egypt features, it is seen as the springboard for some of the more famous set pieces of the war, be it Gallipoli or the Palestine campaign, worthy of a passing mention but rarely itself an object of study. Up to a third of Egypt’s male rural population was conscripted, by varying degrees of coercion, into the Labour corps that made trench warfare possible.

The conscription of vast numbers of livestock upon which the country’s peasant populations subsisted would cause disturbances in food and agricultural provisions for many decades to come. It was arguably these very conditions  that led to the first mass anti-colonial revolution in Egypt’s history and one of the largest such events in the twentieth century, eventually leading to the declaration of Egyptian independence from Britain. This half-day long interdisciplinary workshop seeks to redress this imbalance, proposing that its precisely in these local backstages, like Egypt, that the war’s global nature can be fully understood. 

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