Current Institutional Affiliation
Doctoral Candidate, Cornell University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2015
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Area and Cultural Studies, Cornell University
Life during Wartime: Migrant Labor, Colonialism, and Revolution in Egypt, 1914-1919

The proposed project is a social history of the Egyptian Labor Corps (ELC) and Camel Transport Corps (CTC). These groups of migrant laborers from rural Egypt were organized and attached to allied troops during the First World War, working alongside other so-called "native laborers" from around the world to provide logistical and manpower support for troops in France, Italy, Palestine, and Mesopotamia. My project reconstructs the networks that recruited these laborers from the Egyptian countryside, transported them to the front, sustained them in their service, and returned them home. Finally, It investigates the links between the experience of migrant labor and the forms of nationalist politics in the countryside during the 1919 Egyptian Revolution. Following Charles Tilly's influential conception of how repertoires of contentious politics changed gradually through social interaction in France and Great Britain, my project investigates the transnational relationships forged among migrant laborers--and between laborers, national elites, and the colonial authorities--in order to tease out how these new relationships expanded repertoires of contentious politics for Egyptian peasants and provided the historical context for the establishment of Egyptian nationalism in the countryside. This provides an important case study to test how transnational migration networks more generally entail possibilities for the establishment of novel forms of politics, while providing the first full-length study of the contributions of non-elite Egyptians to the war effort.