". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Egypt in 1862 -- Photographs

"Francis Bedford’s astonishing photographs of the 1862 royal tour" --.

These are photographs of the four-month tour of the Middle East in 1862 of the 20-year-old Prince of Wales -- sent off by Queen Victoria and Albert, as both punishment and cure for Bertie's discovery that he could have sex.  Before the Prince of Wales set off, Albert died, and Victoria disliked her son and heir even more.

Click the link for more photos of the from the trip in the Guardian photo gallery.

Talking about this article with a friend, her take away was that nobody in the royal family could even sneeze without the Royal Permission, and how stifling and suffocating this had to be.

1862. Alix and Minnie with their mother Queen Louise of Denmark.
Which led me to observe that the clothes alone, for both men and women, were stifling and suffocating, and the higher up the social scale, the more clothing was heaped upon the body, concealing its natural shape and form, making it the more difficult to move -- particularly for women.  Good thing that servants were cheap in those days and one could mistreat them pretty much at will ....

Thoughts about European clothing of 1862 are prompted naturally by an observation in the article about the Christian (Druze) and Muslim conflicts in Lebanon:
Even the cheapness of English cloth had sharpened resentments between the various groups, enriching the Christian agents of the Manchester houses and impoverishing Muslim weavers – unintended consequences of the Industrial Revolution and globalisation.
Now I'm curious as to what happened with the Muslim weavers in the next few years, as this was 1862, and the British factories were soon going to starve as the Union blockade of the Cotton Kingdom's product got more effective. This, in

Mehmet (Muhammad) Ali of Egypt, who began the large-scale cultivation of cotton in Egypt.

turn, set off in Egypt, what is still historically called the "cotton boom," to supply the English textile industry.  Note: the Egyptian cotton boom was accomplished by slave labor ....

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