In 1968 Egyptian novelist and political exile Waguih Ghali committed suicide in the London flat of his editor, friend, and sometime lover, Diana Athill. Ghali left behind six notebooks of diaries that for decades were largely inaccessible to the public. The Diaries of Waguih Ghali: An Egyptian in the Swinging Sixties, in two volumes, is the first publication of its kind of the journals, casting fascinating light on a likable and highly enigmatic literary personality. Waguih Ghali (1930?–69), author of the acclaimed novel Beer in the Snooker Club, was a libertine, sponger, and manic depressive, but also an extraordinary writer, a pacifist, and a savvy political commentator. Covering the last four years of his life, Ghali’s Diaries offer an exciting glimpse into London’s swinging sixties. Volume 2 covers the period from 1966 to 1968. Moving from West Germany to London and Israel, and back in memory to Egypt and Paris, the entries boast of endless drinking, countless love affairs, and of mingling with the dazzling intellectuals of London, but the Diaries also critique the sinister political circles of Jerusalem and Cairo, describe Ghali’s trepidation at being the first Egyptian allowed into Israel after the 1967 War, and confess in detail the pain and difficulties of writing and exile. Including an interview conducted by Deborah Starr with Ghali’s cousin, former director of UNICEF-Geneva, Samir Basta.
In this interview Hawas explains what Waguih Ghali’s writing means for her and how she got involved in editing the diaries of this enigmatic and fascinating Egyptian writer, pacifist, and savvy political commentator.
One of the first three books published by the AUC Press after its founding in 1960 was A Muslim Manual of War, an annotated editing and translation of a hitherto little-known fifteenth-century Arabic manuscript on the art of war, prepared by George Scanlon, then embarking on his career to become one of the most respected scholars in the field of Islamic art, architecture, archaeology, and history. Now, in celebration of 50 years of the AUC Press, and in honor of Professor Scanlon’s recent retirement after an illustrious career, most recently as professor of Islamic art and architecture in the Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations at the American University in Cairo, the AUC Press is proud to make available once again this long out-of-print book, as a freely accessible scanned facsimile with a new Introduction by the author and a Foreword by eminent scholar Carole Hillenbrand, a former student of Professor Scanlon. Click here to download the free PDF.
Spanning a century of Egyptian filmmaking, this work weaves together culture, history, politics, and economics to form a narrative of how Egyptian national identity came to be constructed and reconstructed over time on film. It goes beyond the films themselves to explore the processes of filmmaking—the artists that made it possible, the institutional networks, structures, and rules that bound them together, the changing social and political environment in which the films were produced, and the role of the state. In peeling back the curtain to reveal the complexities behind the screen, Magdy El-Shammaa shows cinema as at once both a reflection and a producer of larger cultural imaginings of the nation. The National Imaginarium provides an in-depth description of the films discussed. It explores the construction of a populist consciousness that permeated and transcended class structures at mid-century in Egypt, and how this subsequently came undone in the face of the bewildering social, economic, and political transformations that the country underwent in the decades that followed. More than similar treatments of the topic, this book draws on theoretical ideas from outside the immediate discipline of Film Studies, including investigations into the materiality and colonial foundations of cosmopolitanism, the stakes and aesthetics of realism, policy shifts around women’s rights, transnational economic contexts, and the broader history of the country and region, including insightful snapshots of everyday life.
The first Ottoman conquest of Tunis took place in 1534 under the command of Kheireddine Barbarossa. However, it was not until 1574 that the Ottomans finally wrested control of the former Hafsid Ifriqiya (modern-day Tunisia), retaining it until the French occupation of Tunisia in 1881. The Regency of Tunis was thus born as an imperial province, and individuals originating from throughout the vast territory of the Ottoman Empire settled there, rapidly creating a new elite via marriage with women from local notable families. This book studies the former Hafsid territory’s position within the Ottoman world and the social developments that accompanied the genesis of the united Regency of Tunis until the death of Hamouda Pasha.
On the social plane, who were these Turko-Ottomans who were able to drive the Hafsid kings from their throne? Were they noble officers, as is so often remembered? The sources paint a different picture: one of rogues from distant Anatolia, and captives of corsairs from across the Mediterranean. These men expanded privateering for their own profit, seizing the country’s riches for themselves and monopolizing exports to Europe.
Leïla Blili revisits the conventional historiography of Ottoman Tunisia, widely considered by historians to be an autonomous province ruled by a dominant class of Turko-Ottomans cut off from local society. She shows that the Regency of Tunis was much less autonomous than secondary scholarship has alleged and, through her analysis of the marriages of these Turko-Ottomans, that they were in fact well-integrated into the local population. In doing so, she also illuminates the place of kinship ties in the establishing of inheritances, access to spheres of power, and the very acquisition of titles of nobility.
In 1986, when this memoir opens, Khaled al-Berry is a typical fourteen-year-old boy in Asyut in Upper Egypt. Soon, his love of soccer draws him into the orbit of members of a radical Islamist group, university students from the surrounding countryside who play the game regularly on a pitch near his home. Attracted at first by the image of the group as “strong Muslims,” al-Berry’s involvement develops until he finds himself deeply committed to its beliefs and implicated in its activities. This ends when, in his third year at university, he is arrested on campus by the police and thrown in jail. His experience of confinement and a return to life on the outside lead to his eventual alienation from radical Islam.
Vulnerable, searingly honest, gripping, and often funny, this tale of one man’s journey to the edge of radicalism and back also gives critical and intelligent insight into an Islamist movement’s debates, preoccupations, motives, and intentions.
The 2011 Egyptian Revolution gave birth to an unprecedented explosion of popular political and social expression in the form of bold, defiant, and often unforgettable street art and graffiti. This acted as both the revolution’s chronicle, its commentary and response to the headlong rush of events, and as a driver of the revolution, a powerful means of influencing and directing what people felt, thought, and did during the heady days and months that followed from the 25 January 2011 uprising. Wall Talk takes us on an epic journey through the street art and graffiti that filled Egypt’s streets between 25 January 2011 and 30 June 2012. Matched with a corresponding timeline of the key events of those eighteen months, it presents an enthralling and invaluable record of a moment in time that changed the course of Egyptian history forever. A Zeitouna publication.
This handsome boxed set brings together five delightfully individual books, each beautifully illustrated with archival images and postcards, on some of Egypt’s most iconic institutions and landmarks. Included are: The Suez Canal: A History (edited by Sherif Boraie), The Egyptian Bourse (by Samir Raafat), Downtown Cairo (by Ola Seif; edited by Sherif Boraie), Egyptian Postage, 1866–1967 (preface by Samir Raafat; edited by Sherif Boraie), and Cinema Cairo: Dream Factory on the Nile (by Rasha Azab; edited by Sherif Boraie). Between them covering the period from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, the books illustrate how these icons, which are deeply embedded in the life of the nation, came to shape the course of modern Egypt and to lay its foundations.
1920s Cairo saw singers pressing hit records, new theaters and dramatic troupes springing up, and cabarets packed—a counter-culture was on the rise. In bars, hash-dens and music halls, people of all classes and backgrounds came together as a passionate group of eccentrics, narcissists, and idealists strove to entertain Egyptian society.
Of these performers, Cairo’s biggest stars were female, and they asserted themselves on the stage like never before. Two of the most famous troupes were run by women; Badia Masabni’s dancehall became the hottest nightspot in town; pioneer of Egyptian cinema Aziza Amir made her stage debut; and legendary singer Umm Kulthum first rose to fame. It is these women, who knew both the opportunities and prejudices that this world offered, who best reveal this cosmopolitan and raucous city’s secrets.
Introducing a thrilling cast of characters, Midnight in Cairo reveals a world of revolutionary ideas and provocative art—one which laid the foundations of Arab popular culture today. It is a story of modern Cairo as we have never known it before.