Empire by Law: Ottoman Sovereignty and the British Occupation of Egypt


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation is a history of the ‘Egyptian Question’ in international relations. In order to explore the relationship between international law and European imperial expansion before World War I, it examines the significance and consequences of maintaining Ottoman sovereignty in Egypt during the British occupation (1882-1914). The project recasts the Ottoman Empire as a weak but major actor in European diplomacy. British legal justifications for the occupation of Egypt demanded the retention of Ottoman institutions and shaped administrative practices. The British experience in Egypt produced a flexible model of rule largely based on Ottoman practices that was then exported to the Ottoman-Arab provinces following the First World War.