On the Margins of the Nahda: The Life and Intellectual World of Muhammad 'Ayyad al-Tantawi
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CitationHalaby, Gregory. 2019. On the Margins of the Nahda: The Life and Intellectual World of Muhammad 'Ayyad al-Tantawi. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation examines the life and intellectual world of the Egyptian scholar and teacher Muhammad 'Ayyad al-Tantawi (1810–1861). In Egypt, al-Tantawi collaborated with a scholarly network of European orientalists and Egyptian ulama in the process of excavating the Arabic literary past in the Ottoman context of Mehmed Ali’s rule. As a result of the reputation he garnered as a teacher, al-Tantawi was offered a position to teach Arabic in Saint Petersburg at the age of 30. He would remain in the Russian metropolis for the rest of his life, ascending in orientalist circles. To understand how al-Tantawi came to be invited to Saint Petersburg and how he was received in his new home, this dissertation traces key figures and discourses in the development of Russian Oriental Studies in the first half of the 19th century.
Furthermore, this dissertation decenters Rifa'a Rafi' al-Tahtawi’s enduring legacy in Nahda Studies by placing his rihla (travelogue) in dialogue with that of al-Tantawi, and probing their intertextual relationship. In contrast to Rifa'a, who was a student constrained by Parisian institutional regimentation, al-Tantawi penned his manuscript as a professor of Arabic in Saint Petersburg. While both sought to effect reform, al-Tantawi’s vision is more firmly rooted in his own observations and in curiosity about the cultures he encountered than that of Rifa'a.
In analyzing al-Tantawi’s life and writings, specifically his travelogue and Arabic language learning book, this dissertation brings into relief a road not taken for the Nahda, forged on its margins.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42029647
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