Cartography and Countercartography of the Egyptian Nation-State
Through an examination of official and unofficial maps and atlases produced and used in Egypt in the twentieth century, this chapter provides a critical reading of the construction and the contestation of Egyptian national identity. Most research concerned with postindependence nation building, whether cartographic or not, has examined nation building at the scale of the state. Indeed, the state is so prevalent in our thinking and framing of national identities that it has often limited our understandings of other ways in which the world is divided, ordered, and imagined. Therefore, this chapter uses a multiscalar approach that moves among the supranational, national, and local scales of analysis to highlight how different geographic narratives at all these scales intersect to both support and at times contest an Egyptian national identity. My intention is not merely to change the scale of analysis but to consider the ways in which processes such as cartographic nation building operate at intersecting scales. Examining Egyptian cartography produced at multiple scales provides an opportunity to examine the Arab-Egyptian-Muslim national identity has dominated Egypt since the mid-twentieth century as well as the counter national narratives of Nubians and Copts.
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