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Arab PatriotismThe Ideology and Culture of Power in Late Ottoman Egypt$
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Adam Mestyan

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691172644

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691172644.001.0001

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Behind the Scenes: A Committee and the Law, 1880s–1900s

Behind the Scenes: A Committee and the Law, 1880s–1900s

(p.238) Chapter 7 Behind the Scenes: A Committee and the Law, 1880s–1900s
Arab Patriotism

Adam Mestyan

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the legal background of theaters in late Ottoman Egypt, starting with a microhistory of the Comité des Théâtres. Its administrative history highlights the process by which khedivial theaters became state institutions overseen financially and administratively by the Comité des Théâtres. Financial experts expressed cultural preferences through indirect censorship of the program within the Opera House. The preferences of the khedives were also taken into consideration—when and if there was no cost involved—and some favored Arab impresarios could use the Opera House. In this way, patriotism in Arabic was staged in the stage of the symbolic Opera House within the colonial frames. As a consequence, “culture” attained a double function as both legitimizing and mirroring elite power. The chapter also considers private theaters and their legal environment.

Keywords:   Ottoman Egypt, Comité des Théâtres, khedivial theaters, censorship, Opera House, khedives, Arab impresarios, Arab patriotism, elite power, private theaters

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