By M. Naaman
Half ode, half educational treatise, this e-book lines the transformation of Cairo’s old downtown from its astounding starting as a French encouraged Belle ?poque wonder to a website of contest and, extra lately, to its position as a neo-bohemian public sphere. utilizing the paintings of a number of Egyptian novelists, this learn explores the importance of this house to principles of modernity, type cognizance, and the anti-colonial fight. Drawing on city reviews scholarship, Arabic literary feedback, and cultural thought, this wide-ranging paintings argues re-evaluation of the historical urban middle within the face of globalization and the continued fragmentation of city house is key to figuring out what it capability to be Egyptian this present day.
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Additional info for Urban Space in Contemporary Egyptian Literature: Portraits of Cairo (Literatures and Cultures of the Islamic World)
Wust al-Balad, while historically a space of contest, may also be read as a site through which Egyptians negotiated their own forms of improvised modernities. For instance, the Egyptian effendiyya15 class might have initially been thought of as mimicking or aping European dress, habits, and beliefs in the European project of modernity, but it was this class that would eventually become the most ardent proponents of the anticolonial nationalist movement, thus using their modern education and knowledge of the colonial administration to critique and eventually bring about its demise.
Shannon, in his work as an ethnomusicologist (Among the Jasmine Trees: Music and Modernity in Syria, 2006), offers the metaphor of improvisation as a compelling framework for reconsidering the coproduction of modernity in its various forms in both European and non-European locations: “modernity is an act of composition (of selves, of nations, of economies and polities) in specific historical moments and specific spaces. Each ‘alternative’ that we identify—South Asian, Arab, Melanesian, North American—refers back to a basic set of struggles, contradictions and indeterminacies.
And this fascination with the picture, image, or model thus elicits an equal fascination with the idea of the real or the original. In this case, the real became the notion of a fixed, spatially located modernity thought to exist in Europe. As Mitchell puts it, The significance of this world-as-picture for understanding the colonialmodern lies in the fact that representation always makes a double claim. On the one hand, something set up as a representation denies its own reality. The representational text, image, model, game, structure, or project, however realistic, always asserts that it is only a text, a mere picture, a copy, a play, a scheme, a framework, an abstraction, a projection, not something real.