Aaron Jakes is a Fellow at the Agrarian Studies Program, Yale University. He received his PhD from New York University’s Joint Program in History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. He is currently an assistant professor of history at The New School, where he teaches course on the modern Middle East and South Asia, global environmental history, and the historical geography of capitalism. He will spend the year at Agrarian Studies working on his current book manuscript, provisionally entitled State of the Field: Colonial Economism and the Crises of Capitalism in Egypt, 1882-1922. The project explores both the political economy of the Egyptian state and the role of political-economic thought in the struggle over British rule following the occupation of 1882. Building on more than a decade of archival research in Egypt, England, India, Pakistan, and the United States, the project examines Egypt’s emergence as a key site for investment and experimentation in the massive financial expansion that characterized global capitalism in waning years of the nineteenth century. In the context of this financial boom and the devastating crisis that followed, Egypt’s early nationalist movement took shape through a protracted and wide-ranging debate about the relationship between economic development and political legitimacy and, ultimately, the very meaning of freedom in a capitalist world.
The core of the Agrarian Studies Program’s activities is a weekly colloquium organized around an annual theme. The 2017-2018 theme is “Hinterlands, Frontiers, Cities, and States: Transactions and Identities.”
Invited specialists send papers in advance that are the focus of an organized discussion by the faculty and graduate students associated with the colloquium.