Aaron Jakes on Colonial Economism and Egypt’s Occupation

This episode takes listeners on a journey to Egypt. Before you go thinking about pyramids and ancient mummies, I should note that we will actually be discussing much more recent history, namely the British occupation of Egypt. Egypt’s role as a producer of cotton and importer of European goods has led many to see the country as one situated on the periphery of global capitalism. From this perspective, the British occupation of 1882 merely sealed the country’s fate as a vast plantation for European textile mills. What if, we’re looking at the map all wrong?

Aaron Jakes challenges these and other conceptions about Egypt’s place in histories of global capitalism through revealing Egypt’s role as a laboratory for colonial economism and key site of investment amid the turn-of-the 20th century financial boom and bust. Bringing together histories of British colonialism and global financialization, Jakes offers a sweeping reinterpretation of both the historical geography of capitalism and sheds light on the contributions of Egyptian intellectuals and activists to twentieth-century political and economic thought.

Check out the episode here!

Aaron Jakes is an Assistant Professor and Co-Director of Capitalism Studies at the New School. He is the author of Egypt’s Occupation: Colonial Economism and the Crisis of Capitalism.

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