Heterotopia as a site of cross-cultural collaboration: Ibrahim al-dusuqi and Edward lane

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Abstract

Egyptian scholars' encounters with European Orientalists in the 19th century have been overdetermined by the imperial subtext and accompanying inequalities of power emphasized by Edward Said in Orientalism. At most, as Shaden Tageldin contends, the encounter with European Orientalism would offer the local collaborator the chance to seek power through empire and translate himself into the figure of the European-to repress the inequalities of empire rather than confront them. Edward Lane and Ibrahim al-Dusuqi have crystallized in this literature respectively as the consummate anthropologist-spy and the gullible informant. The history of their collaboration in 1840s Cairo on an edition of the Taj al-'arus and the Arabic-English Lexicon, however, suggests less overdetermined possibilities. Al-Dusuqis memoir of his seven-year collaboration with Lane describes a shared quest (however fragile) for a heterotopia where their worldviews might dovetail and overlap.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-285
Number of pages13
JournalMiddle Eastern Literatures
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

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