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Unformatted text preview: <p>Cuno’s description of land ownership in his “The Origins of Private Ownership of Land in Egypt: A Reappraisal” illustrates the complexities of privatization and land reform, acts commonly claimed to be crucial tenets of modernization and progress. By examining land reform in 17 th-19 th century Egypt, Cuno reveals the consistent struggle between the state and landed notables wishing to extract rents and influence from their land. The 17 th and 18 th centuries in Egypt witnessed the “acquiring of rights to land… reducing the fiscal and administrative control of the state,” yet simultaneously witnessed the concentration of land into fewer hands (207). Not only in Egypt, but in the Balkans and Mount Lebanon, modernization of land did not mean landed rights for the masses but rather the exploitation of unrepresented, poorer peasants who fell through the cracks of market-oriented agricultural transformation. Throughout the 18 th century, as notables attempted to increase their grasp of lands across Egypt both through the granting of grants—wealthy landholders were able to both increase their own leverage on the state and deny poorer fellahin rights to return—so too did the government attempt to retain ownership of land. Through a cadastral survey documenting every portion of land and its owner within Egypt to the manipulation of ‘uhda grants by government officials to the acquisition of the majority of these grants by...
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This note was uploaded on 02/21/2010 for the course ENG W2018 taught by Professor Niccolas during the Spring '10 term at Columbia.
- Spring '10