Divine Governance: Islam, Modernity, and the Construction of Selfhood in Twentieth Century Egypt


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships




This project will challenge current understandings of Islam, secularism and modernity by tracing the development of discourses of self, society and subjectivity in twentieth century Egypt. Focusing on the writings of salafiyya (turn-of-the-century Islamic reformers) and liberal secular reformers in Egypt, I seek to map out the moral and psychological topography of modern selfhood. I ask how notions of selfhood were formed out of indigenous notions of ethical being and transformed with the increased translation of Western notions of liberal autonomous selfhood through social scientific disciplines such as psychology. I explore the epistemological and ethical frameworks within which these new social discourses were embedded, and their relationship to colonialist and nationalist ideologies.