Unlike The Literary Atlas of Cairo, which focuses on the literary geopolitics of the cityscape, this companion volume immerses the reader in the complex network of socioeconomic and cultural lives in the city. The seven chapters first introduce the reader to representations of some of Cairo’s prominent profiles, both political and cultural, and their impact on the city’s literary geography, before presenting a spectrum of readings of the city by its multiethnic, multinational, and multilingual writers across class, gender, and generation. Daunting images of colonial school experiences and startling contrasts of postcolonial educational realities are revealed, while Cairo’s moments of political participation and oppression are illustrated, as well as the space accorded to women within the city across history and class. Together, The Literary Atlas of Cairo and The Literary Life of Cairo produce a literary geography of Cairo that goes beyond the representation of space in literature to reconstruct the complex network of human relationships in that space.
The point of departure for this special issue of Alif is that knowledge is ‘produced’ rather than ‘discovered,’ and that translation is a core mechanism for the production and circulation of all forms of knowledge. This topic has received relatively limited attention in translation studies to date, and even less in related disciplines such as cultural studies and the history of ideas. This issue aims to encourage sustained engagement with the role played by translation in the production of knowledges across the entire spectrum of human activities. Contributors offer theoretical, empirical, and historical accounts of the impact of translation on the production, renegotiation, and reification of knowledge.
This issue of Alif explores drama in its many manifestations-—textual plays, performances, folk drama, choreographed story-telling, staged poetry recitals, and protest songs—as well as presenting modes of directing and production, comparative dramaturgy, specialized theater journals, experimental and independent troupes, testimonies and interviews. The issue covers dramatic works from eighteenth-century France to twenty-first century Britain and covers geographically Senegal to Lebanon, the US to China, while highlighting major dramatists from Egypt, Syria, and Morocco. The translations in this issue cover manifestos towards a new Arab Theater and an introduction to the recently published plays of Frantz Fanon.
In 1957 the public sector in Egyptian cinema was established, followed shortly by the emergence of public-sector film production in 1960, only to end eleven years later, in 1971. Assailed with negativity since its demise, if not earlier, this state adventure in film production was dismissed as a complete failure, financially, administratively and, most importantly, artistically. Although some scholars have sporadically commented on the role played by this state institution, it has not been the object of serious academic research aimed at providing a balanced, nuanced general assessment of its overall impact. This issue of Cairo Papers hopes to address this gap in the literature on Egyptian cinema. After discussing the part played by the public sector in attempts to alleviate the financial crisis that threatened the film industry, this study investigates whether there was a real change in the general perception of the cinema, and the government’s attitude toward it, following the June 1967 Arab–Israeli war.
This issue of Alif is dedicated to efforts to redefine and reorient the humanities in light of global institutional and intellectual realities. “Mapping” is construed in several ways: the more literal meaning of geographical “reorientation” in the sense of efforts to redefine the relationship between global north and south, and between Western and non-Western intellectual traditions. It also refers to the remapping of the modern university by interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary work in the humanities that brings it to new shores such as the digital humanities and medical humanities. Essays map out ways for the humanities to better engage the extra-academic pressures shaping the modern university as it remains true to its own best long-standing goals and values.
An award-winning account of Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz’s most controversial novel and the fierce debates that it provoked
Naguib Mahfouz’s novel Children of the Alley has been in the spotlight since it was first published in Egypt in 1959. It has been at times banned and at others allowed, sold sometimes under the counter and sometimes openly on the street, often pirated and only recently legally reprinted. It has inspired anxiety among the secular authorities, rage within the religious right, and a drawing of battles lines among Arab intellectuals and writers. It dogged Mahfouz like a curse throughout the remainder of his career, led to his attempted assassination, and sparked a public debate that continues to this day, even after the author’s death in 2006. It is Egypt’s iconic novel, in whose mirror millions have seen themselves, their society, and even the universe, some finding truth, others blasphemy.
In this award-winning account, Mohamed Shoair traces the story of Mahfouz’s novel as a cultural and political object, from its first publication to the present via Mahfouz’s award of the Nobel prize for literature in 1988 and the attempt on his life in 1994. He presents the arguments that swirled about the novel and the wide cast of Egyptian figures, from state actors to secular intellectuals and Islamists, who took part in them. He also contextualizes the interactions among the principal characters, interactions that have done much to shape the country’s present.
Extensively researched and written in a lucid, accessible style, The Story of the Banned Book is both a gripping work of investigative journalism and a window onto some of the fiercest debates around culture and religion to have taken place in Egyptian society over the past half-century.
A wide-ranging exploration of the relationship between history and literature
This issue of Alif explores the relationship between literature and history. What do history and literature have to say to each other? What can literature say that history cannot, and vice versa? Do they work with or against each other? How does the literary dimension of history affect its status, and how does the historicity of literature, in turn, shape its being? What would it mean to speak of a “literariness of history” today? The terms “literature” and “history” in our title are intended to be construed in the broadest possible sense and to cover the widest possible range of genres and modalities of literary and historical writing. The recent proliferation of epithets and sub-disciplines in the study of both literature and history has fundamentally changed both fields while raising further questions about the possibility of scholarly debates that traverse them.
– Balthazar I. Beckett, American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
– Mohamed Birairi, Beni-Suef University, Beni-Suef, Egypt, and the American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
– Ziad Dallal, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, USA
– Karim Elsaiad, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
– Itzea Goikolea-Amiano, SOAS, University of London, London, UK
– Rebecca Ruth Gould, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
– Magdi Guirguis, Kafrelsheikh University, Kafr al-Sheikh, Egypt
– Isabelle Hesse, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
– Abdullah Ibrahim, literary critic
– Madonna Kalousian, independent scholar
– Céza Kassem, independent scholar
– Ahmed F. Khaleel, University of York, York, UK
– Tarif Khalidi, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
– Peter Kornicki, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
– Wen-chi Li, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
– Azza Madian, Cairo Conservatoire and American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
– Francesca Orsini, SOAS, University of London, London, UK
– Daniel Rivet, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris, France
– Anne C. Vila, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
A wide-ranging, multi-disciplinary collection of essays that decenter, critique, and problematize predominant notions of the meaning of mortality for human creativity
This issue of Alif explores the ways in which humans have come to confront their mortality across time and space. Contributions question the nature of loss, grief, and the possibility of an afterlife. Is death only an interlude? Perhaps simply the end? How have people used literature and the arts to conceptualize its relentless presence in our existence?
The articles in this issue decenter, critique, and problematize predominant notions of the meaning of mortality for human creativity. They provide a wide scope of responses to mortality, anthropologically, philosophically, and psychologically. They shed light on different cultural receptions of loss, annihilation, and mortality, ranging from India to Yemen, Palestine to Iraq, the Island of Lampedusa to the war-ravished city of Beirut, among many other locales. Death is dealt with in an intimate fashion through the exploration and reinterpretation of modern and classical elegiac poetry, children’s picturebooks, fictional accounts of war, grief, and displacement, and dramatic treatments of dying and the afterlife.
Contributors: Hajjaj Abu Jabr, Egyptian Academy of Arts, Cairo, Egypt Karam AbuSehly, Beni-Suef University, Beni Suef, Egypt Hala Amin, Beni-Suef University, Beni Suef, Egypt Shaimaa El-Ateek, Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Mohamed Birairi, Beni-Suef University, Beni-Suef, Egypt, and American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt Elliott Colla, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA Saeed Elmasry, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt Shaimaa Gohar, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt Walid El Khachab, York University, Toronto, Canada Yasmine Motawy, American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt Dani Nassif, University of Münster, Münster, Germany Andrea Maria Negri, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Munich, Germany Marwa Ramadan, Zagazig University, Zagazig, Egypt Caroline Rooney, University of Kent, Kent, United Kingdom Tania Al Saadi, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden May Telmissany, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada Shahla Ujayli, American University of Madaba, Madaba, Jordan