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Visiting fellows and Mohamed Ali Foundation fellowship papers

Fellows in this fellowship series deliver public lectures at Durham University. These lectures will be developed into an edited volume to be published upon the completion of the fellowship series. In the meantime, papers usually based on these lectures will be published in the Durham Middle East Papers series by the Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.


The Mohamed Ali Foundation and Durham University will offer three free public lectures this year.  The presentations will take place at 14:00-17:00 on Tuesday 13 June 2023 at Cosin's Hall on Palace Green in the centre of Durham City.  The lectures will also be live-streamed on Zoom: if you wish to attend online please register here. Details of the fellows and their lectures are provided below.



The Last Khedive but the First to Decolonize?: Abbas Hilmi II's odyssey for sovereignty.

Dr Karim Malak will explore the nature of Egyptian Sovereignty at the turn of the 19th century. Challenging the narrative that sees the Egyptian state emerge after 1919, Malak traces its birth to increasingly assertive policies and reforms that began under Mehmet Ali and Ibrahim Pasha, which were stunted by the British but later picked up by Khedive Abbas Hilmi II. Asking what were the limits and opportunities for governance afforded within competing visions of Ottoman and British sovereignty, Malak will concentrate particularly on accounting and financial reform, military bureaucracy, and that of the awqāf; the key battlegrounds for Egyptian sovereignty between the 1870s and 1914 when an earlier undertheorized epoch of decolonization began.



Dr Sami Moubayed

Failed attempts at making Abbas Hilmi II king of Syria (1930-1933)

Dr Sami Moubayed will analyse the brief proposal of Abbas Hilmi II as a king of Syria in 1932, and to place this incident in context with the legacy and ambitions of his ancestor Mohammad Ali Pasha, who intervened in Syria in the early 19th century, and with the short reign of Faisal I after the First World War. He will reflect on how this nomination was received by different groups in contemporary Syria and by Abbas Hilmi II himself, and consider what policies might have been adopted by such a ruler.




Dr Taqadum Al-Khatib

The last khedive of Egypt and Germany: transnational networks, empire, and independence, 1914-1919

Dr Taqadum Al-Khatib will explore why after his deposition and during much of the First World War Abbas Hilmi II remained the object of substantial attention lavished on him by the Great Powers. He will review Germany’s relations with Egypt both before and after the British occupation in 1882 and the pan-Islamic anti-colonial policies that Germany adopted after 1914, tracing its increased engagement with and patronage of Egyptian nationalists in Europe and Egypt. Drawing upon extensive use of German archival sources, as well as Abbas Hilmi II’s own archive, he will examine the wartime inter-relations between Egyptian nationalists, Abbas Hilmi II, the Ottoman state and Germany. Germany and Turkey professed support for combined military operations to liberate Egypt, but Egyptian nationalists remained sceptical. The talk will ultimately offer a new understanding of the roots of the idea of the Third World.



The archives of the last khedive of Egypt. Making the most of the Abbas Hilmi II Papers.


Professor Ghazaleh’s inaugural lecture in the fellowship series explored the significant research potential of the papers of Abbas Hilmi II (1874-1944), presenting a broad overview of the collection and its strengths and drawing out some of its highlights, contextualising these with other collections in the region and existing historiography. An outline of a future edited volume is presented, with suggested chapter themes. The riches of the Abbas Hilmi II Papers should be better known and Professor Ghazaleh’s lecture opened a new field of discovery for modern historians of Egypt.

Archives of the last khedive

Under Surveillance: police and politics in the archive of Khedive Abbas Hilmi II