1 Department of the History of Ideas, Faculty of Humanities, Aarhus University, Aarhus University2 School of Culture and Society - History of Ideas, subject, School of Culture and Society, Arts, Aarhus University3 School of Culture and Society - History of Ideas, subject, School of Culture and Society, Arts, Aarhus University
In 1882, the British occupied Egypt. A decade later British Egyptologists successfully spearheaded an international campaign against a scheme to dam the Nile at Aswan—a project that would result in the flooding of the Island and Temples of Philae. The article analyses the campaign to preserve Philae as it unfolded at the Foreign Office in Downing Street, in Egyptologists circles in Britain, among British administrators in Cairo, and in public spheres in late-Victorian London. Introducing the terms muscular modernization and paternalistic preservation the article analyses the tensions that the Philae controversy revealed in British imperial ideologies in relation to questions of modernity and tradition. Drawing on a uniquely well-preserved archival record the article demonstrates how the protection of what we now call global heritage was negotiated before the birth of UNESCO.
History and Anthropology, 2011, Vol 22, Issue 2, p. 203-220