In 1932 the Al Saud family incorporated the kingdom of Hijaz, once the cultural hub of the Arabian world, into the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The urban, cosmopolitan Hijazis were absorbed into a new state whose codes of behavior and rules were determined by the Najdis, an ascetic desert people, from whom the Al Saud family came. But the Saudi rulers failed to fully integrate the Hijaz, which retains a distinctive identity to this day. Here May Yamani traces the fortunes of the distinctive and resilient culture of the Hijazis, from the golden age of Hashemite Mecca to Saudi domination to its current resurgence. The Hijazis today emphasise their regional heritage in religious ritual, food, dress, and language as a response to the ‘Najdification’ of everyday life. The Hijazi experience shows the vitality of cultural diversity in the face of political repression in the Arab world.
Cradle of Islam
The Hijaz and the Quest for an Arabian Identity
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An Islam of Her Own
Reconsidering Religion and Secularism in Women’s Islamic Movements
Reconsidering Religion and Secularism in Women’s Islamic MovementsSherine Hafez
As the world grapples with issues of religious fanaticism, extremist politics, and rampant violence that seek justification in either “religious” or “secular” discourses, women who claim Islam as a vehicle for individual and social change are often either regarded as pious subjects who subscribe to an ideology that denies them many modern freedoms, or as feminist subjects who seek empowerment only through rejecting religion and adopting secularist discourses. Yet in actuality Muslim women whose activism is grounded in Islam draw equally on principles associated with secularism. Here Sherine Hafez focuses on women’s Islamic activism in Egypt to challenge these binary representations of religious versus secular subjectivities. Drawing on five years of ethnographic fieldwork within a women’s Islamic movement in Cairo, Hafez analyzes the ways in which women who participate in Islamic activism narrate their selfhood, articulate their desires, and embody discourses in which the boundaries are blurred between the religious and the secular....read more
Coptic Saints and Pilgrimages
Otto F.A. Meinardus
The Coptic Christian tradition is one that goes back almost two thousand years to the very beginnings of Christianity: Mark the Evangelist himself is said to have brought the faith to Alexandria. In his Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity (AUC Press, 1999), renowned scholar Otto Meinardus reviewed the history of the official church from its earliest days to the end of the twentieth century, with its doctrinal disputes and its long isolation from other world churches. Here in Coptic Saints and Pilgrims, he examines the other side of the coin, the popular traditions and beliefs of the people. While the Coptic Orthodox church is strongly influenced by Hellenistic modes of thinking, many of the folk attitudes and practices by contrast have their roots in the religious heritage of pharaonic Egypt, and while the official faith is by its sacramental nature exclusive, the folk religion is inclusive and touches every aspect of the personal lives of ordinary Copts. It is this popular aspect of Coptic religious devotion that is revealed here, in its many points of focus: biblical saints, martyrs, ascetics, equestrian warriors, ‘silverless’ physicians, women saints, pilgrimage, dreams, visions, and apparitions....read more
15 February 2008
20 color illus.
The Christians of the Nile
The Christians of the NileChristian Cannuyer
Between the glory of the pharaohs and the grandeur of Islam lies another Egypt: that of the Copts, Egypt’s Christians. This venerable church embraced the teachings of Jesus when they were new, invented monasticism, gave saints and scholars to the world, and has preserved its ancient traditions down to our day. The Copts were famous for their richly colored textiles and figurative paintings: today, the wide-eyed faces of antiquity gaze at us from out of the past, proclaiming the eternity of Egyptian humanity. According to legend, Mark the Evangelist founded the Coptic church in Alexandria in the first century A.D., when Egypt was under Roman rule and practiced polytheistic religions. Though Egypt has been an Islamic nation since the seventh century, the Copts have maintained their traditions and rites at monasteries and villages throughout the country. Beautiful antique textiles, mosaics, illuminated manuscripts, frescoes, book-bindings, and monuments attest to their rich and venerable culture, which drew inspiration from Egyptian, Hellenistic, and Near Eastern art. This lavishly illustrated little book brings the extraordinary artistic and cultural heritage of the Copts to life....read more
164 color photographs
Christianity and Monasticism in Aswan and Nubia
Edited by Gawdat Gabra Hany N. Takla
Hany N. Takla
Christianity and monasticism have flourished along the Nile Valley in the Aswan region of Upper Egypt and in what was once Nubia, from as early as the fourth century until the present day. The contributors to this volume, international specialists in Coptology from around the world, examine various aspects of Coptic civilization in Aswan and Nubia over the past centuries. The complexity of Christian identity in Nubia, as distinct from Egypt, is examined in the context of church ritual and architecture. Many of the studies explore Coptic material culture: inscriptions, art, architecture, and archaeology; and language and literature. The archaeological and artistic heritage of monastic sites in Edfu, Aswan, Makuria, and Kom Ombo are highlighted, attesting to their important legacies in the region....read more
29 April 2013
91 b/w illus.