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Gatekeepers of the Arab PastHistorians and History Writing in Twentieth-Century Egypt$
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Yoav Di-Capua

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257320

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257320.001.0001

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Authoritarian Pluralism: 1970–2000

Authoritarian Pluralism: 1970–2000

(p.311) 9 Authoritarian Pluralism: 19702000
Gatekeepers of the Arab Past

Yoav Di Capua

University of California Press

This chapter examines the multiple ways in which authoritarian pluralism shaped the historiographical marketplace. It argues that while authoritarian pluralism allowed previously marginalized groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood to write and publish history, the government monopoly on state records curtailed the ability to ascertain the veracity of historical interpretations. The lack of historical records undermined the value of historical truthfulness and severely damaged the capacity to maintain textual hierarchy. Furthermore, given the state's continuous disregard for other values—such as accessibility, transparency, and public accountability—the professional authority of academic historians, whose agenda of modern research was highly dependent on the maintenance of such values, declined sharply. Consequently, greater sections of the historiographical field became methodologically poor, culturally provincial, and philosophically speculative. Since the 1987 conference on historiography, the various aspects of this process have come to be known as the crisis of historical consciousness.

Keywords:   Egyptian history, Egyptian historiography, authoritarian pluralism, historical records, crisis of historical consciousness

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