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Gabriel Josipovici

This is an excerpt from Gabriel Josipovici's life of his mother, Rabinovitch, who died in 1996 at the age of eighty-five. Sacha and her elder sister Vera, known as Chickie, were born in Helwan, near Cairo, in 1910 and 1909 respectively. Their father, a Jewish doctor from Odessa, died when the children were five and six, their mother was carried away by the epidemic which swept Egypt when they were ten and eleven. The greatest influence on the two little girls was their English nanny, who died the following year. After a brief period with their Syrian stepfather, Max Debbane, they went to live with their maternal grandparents, and it is here that the extract starts.

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'Too great a morsell for time to devoure'

Seventeenth-Century Surveys of the Pyramids at Giza

Angus Vine

This essay explores the responses of early modern travel-writers, primarily English, to the Pyramids at Giza. By examining a series of surveys, scholarly and otherwise, it proposes that the Pyramids became sites of overwhelming curiosity for seventeenth-century travellers. It also explores the literary, antiquarian and mathematical influences behind this curiosity, the influences which resulted in the emergence of an architectural and mensural approach to those three iconic Egyptian monuments.

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Khul‘ Divorce in Egypt

How Family Courts Are Providing a ‘Dialogue’ between Husband and Wife

Nadia Sonneveld

In the year 2000, Egyptian women were given the right to unilateral divorce through a procedure called khul'. Khul' became the source of much controversy in Egyptian society, and most judges interviewed by the author expressed a negative viewpoint when asked about it. Nevertheless, the introduction of the Family Court system in 2004, with the explicit aim of solving marital disputes through mediation and communication, has made possible a 'dialogue' between husband and wife in a khul' procedure. This applies even in situations where mediators and judges profess an unfavourable opinion of women who file for khul' divorce.

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Being Baha'i in Contemporary Egypt

An Ethnographic Analysis of Everyday Challenges

Daniele Cantini

Following the 2003 reform and the Supreme Court ruling of 16 December 2006, Baha'is of Egypt find it increasingly difficult to have their citizenship rights recognised. This article draws on personal observation and analysis carried out in the context of broader research on Egyptian citizenship. I will introduce the condition of Baha'is in this country, from a historical and legal perspective, before starting an overall analysis of what being an oppressed minority means, in concrete terms, in the practice of everyday living. The article will then delineate how the ambiguities of state policies towards Baha'is are reflected in their daily lives.

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The Enigma of Mobility

Reflections on the Arab Revolutions

Frank Uekoetter

This article makes a first attempt at outlining the place of the ongoing arab revolution in modern history, with special attention to its significance to mobility studies. taking issue with readings that emphasize the roots of the revolt in islam or the arab world, it stresses the economic background of the grievance, and specifically the elusive hope for social mobility in the countries' youth. it also highlights the crucial role of networking activities, both face-to- face and online, in creating the momentum that led to toppling of powerful regimes in Egypt and tunisia. The article seeks to demonstrate how mobility studies can highlight the peculiar challenges that both countries are currently facing. By way of conclusion, it shows how the case at hand forces us to think more about the mind of mobility, and more broadly about the ambitions and theoretical promises that the field of mobility studies should embrace.

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Lessons from the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Talks

An Interview with Aharon Barak

Raphael Cohen-Almagor

This article is based on an interview conducted in July 2018 with Aharon Barak. In it, Barak reflects on the peace negotiations with Egypt at Camp David during 13 days in September 1978. While expressing great appreciation for the American negotiating team, first and foremost for President Jimmy Carter, for bringing the talks to a successful close, Barak considers negotiating with Carter as the toughest experience of his life. According to Barak, who had just completed his role as legal advisor to the government (1975–1978) and was appointed to the Supreme Court, the key people in the Israeli delegation were Menachem Begin, Moshe Dayan, and Ezer Weizman, while the key players in the Egyptian delegation were Anwar Sadat and Osama El-Baz. The negotiations went through ups and downs and had reached the brink of collapse until the Americans proposed that Carter negotiate directly with El-Baz and Barak. In the article’s conclusion, some important insights are deduced from this interview for future, successful negotiations.

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Hazem Azmy

This article reflects critically on Shakespeare’s presence in the Egyptian cultural and national imaginaries between the country’s celebration of two Shakespeare quadricentennials. The 400th anniversary of his birth in 1964 coincided with the euphoric reimagining of Egypt as a decolonizing nationalist utopia, and also with the launch of the highly emblematic al- Masraḥ magazine; that of the Bard’s death in 2016 has occurred as the exhausted ‘post-revolutionary’ nation navigates a welter of blind spots and uncertainties on all levels. Culled from the wider public sphere, mainstream stage practice and my classroom experiences as an instructor of drama and theatre in contemporary Egypt, the article’s three snapshots exhibit compelling evidence of cultural hegemony, entrenched gerontocracy and both the subtle and not so subtle continuing subjugation of feminized voices.

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The Changing Portrayal of Dancers in Egyptian Films

Three Roles in the Career of Tahia Carioca (1946, 1958 and 1972)

Carolina Bracco

This article examines the projected image of dancers in Egyptian cinema. The historical background includes the last period of the Farouk monarchy, the revolution of the Free Officers Movement and the Nasser regime, ending with Nasser’s death in 1970, when a new social and political era started blossoming. I consider the socio-political changes and their cultural repercussions as part of a dialectic relationship that affects the portrayal of dancers in three films: The Lady’s Puppet (1946), My Dark Darling (1958) and Pay Attention to Zuzu (1972). By examining Carioca’s roles in these films, I argue socio-political changes in Egypt have been projected on the image of the dancer while also changing it: she is first seen as a working woman, then as an evil woman and finally as a marginalised woman.

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Egyptian Football Ultras and the January 25th Revolution

Anti-corporate, Anti-militarist and Martyrdom Masculinities

Manal Hamzeh and Heather Sykes

This article examines the masculinities of Ultras football fans during and after the January 25th Egyptian revolution, within the interlocking systems of power of neoliberalism, militarism and Islamism. The Ultras' anti-corporate masculinities were strengthened through protests against satellite TV and the Egyptian Football Association, while they also developed anti-militarist masculinities as they protested business elites, Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and Central Security Forces. The Ultras developed martyrdom masculinities due to their shock over the Port Said stadium massacre and subsequent retribution protests. The Ultras may be reiterating hegemonic masculinities operating within the same patriarchal logic of the three regimes. Their grief and shock may be limiting their self-reflexivity and capacity to build coalitions.

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Mustafa Abdalla

This article explores a specific kind of student–patient interaction in Egypt. It demonstrates how the increasing need for patients in medical schools and the shift to a neoliberal economy have generated a population of 'bioavailable' professional patients who find meaning in their diseases and sell knowledge about them in medical schools. The encounter with these patients causes tensions and has its high financial costs for the students; yet, some perceive it as a solution to the shortcomings of the medical system. Furthermore, students view professional patients as a cooperative group who possess extensive medical knowledge and relate to their bodies differently compared to 'ordinary' patients. The encounter highlights the inadequacies pertinent to medical education in this system and shows that the rhetoric of patient-centred training, a common model around the world, can lead to inverted power relations and imbalances in the student–patient encounter.