In 1826, Mehmet Ali, the khedive (hereditary governor) of Egypt, sent Rifaca Rafic al-Tahtawi, along with a number of
students, to Paris as part of the first Egyptian educational mission to France. An Imam in Paris recounts al-Tahtawi’s
experiences there. When he returned to Egypt, Mehmet Ali appointed al-Tahtawi head of the School of Languages, which
translated works of philosophy, political theory, mathematics, etc. from French into Arabic. He thus came to play an
important role in Mehmet Ali’s efforts at defensive developmentalism.
In a single, coherent essay of no more than 5 pages, answer the following questions:
a. In your own words, define defensive developmentalism. What were the goals of defensive developmentalism? Describe 5
things defensive developmentalists such as Mehmet Ali did to achieve those goals.
b. How did al-Tahtawi’s journey fit into Mehmet Ali’s defensive developmentalist plans?
c. Describe 5 things al-Tahtawi saw or learned in Paris that he wanted Egyptians to adopt. Why? Describe 3 things al-Tahtawi
saw or learned in Paris that he did not want Egyptians to adopt. Why?
d. Defensive developmentalism was a success in Egypt; defensive developmentalism failed in Egypt. Explain.
WHEN WRITING YOUR ESSAYS KEEP THE FOLLOWING IN MIND:
1. Don’t bother reading the Introduction to An Imam in Paris, unless you have problems sleeping.
2. I am asking for a single, coherent essay. That means you are to write an introduction, then the main body of your essay,
then a conclusion. You are not to write four separate essays, and you are certainly not to number your paper and follow each
number by a short answer. Please consult my “Guide to Good Writing” if you have any questions about writing.
3. Do not use quotations from the book or any other source. Use your own words. Example of quotation: Tahtawi said,
“Parisians go to restaurants.”
4. On the other hand, cite the examples you use in your answer to Question c. Do this by indicating the page number in
parentheses immediately after your description. For example: Tahtawi said that Parisians eat at restaurants (94). (Notice the
telltale word “that” in the preceding sentence.) There is no need to cite my lectures or The Modern Middle East: A History.
The only citations should come from An Imam in Paris. The only reason I am asking for citations at all is to help your TA
verify your answer should they need to.
5. If you are unsure of the difference between a quotation and a citation, ask your TA. You should never ever use quotations
in your essays for me or your TAs.
6. This paper is to be no longer than five double-spaced pages. Please don’t fool around with fonts, margins, or line spacing.
If you end up with an essay that is five and a half pages long or four and a half pages long, that’s fine. If you hand in a four
page paper or an six page paper, then there is a problem: in the former case, you probably have not answered all the questions
or have not provided sufficient explanation or detail. In the latter case, you probably have provided more explanation or detail
than necessary.