From the Editors
The New York Times says Jadaliyya "Brings New Life to Arab Studies." Read about it by clicking here.
Contesting Narratives, Locating Power (Lund Conference)
The legacy of Egypt’s 1952 revolution was one of mobilization but, importantly, of exclusions as well – exclusion of women and of Islamists, for instance. In the wake of the 2011 revolution, the question emerges: Is it possible to conceive an Egyptian nationalism that mobilizes without excluding? The struggle for a pluralistic Egyptian nationalism is, to my mind, the greatest legacy of the January 25th revolution. And one of the greatest tests of the revolution’s success or failure will be how Egyptian nationalism is redefined to accommodate Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority.
In the past, the invocation of the ‘national unity discourse’ has sufficed to accommodate Copts. Advocates of this discourse have ventured so far as to deny the existence of a Coptic minority within Egyptian borders altogether. Within this framework, sectarianism has taken on the guise of an aberrant distraction from the solidarity of the Egyptian people.
Yet, in early March 2011, a Coptic sit-in brought to a halt all traffic in front of the Radio and Television Building in downtown Cairo. The ostensible cause of the protest was the destruction of a church in the Hilwan governorate. I would suggest, though, that the Coptic protests need to be understood as a call for acknowledgment of contemporary Coptic life and culture, of a distinctive Coptic identity.
Indeed, what seems to have eluded partisans of the ‘national unity discourse,’ is that this Coptic identity carries enormous import for various parts of the community. I might add that this has eluded scholarly observers of Egypt abroad, as well. If one judges their importance in contemporary Egypt by the extent to which they attract attention from scholarly observers, one might well conclude that Copts have a negligible impact on Egyptian social, political, or cultural life. There are, for instance, practically no histories of the Coptic community or Coptic social life in the English language. This has made teaching about a vital facet of diversity and pluralism within the Egyptian nation difficult, if not impossible.
Copts appear to attract attention from Western scholars only in so far as they attract attention from Egyptian Islamists, and never for the dynamics of their own community. A case in point: I was delighted by the recent publication of a book whose subtitle reads Non-Muslims and the Egyptian State, convinced that this text would accord serious and sustained attention to the implications of the distinctly Coptic culture I have referenced. Yet, in this book that is explicitly dedicated to non-Muslims and their relations with the Egyptian state, the text is overwhelmingly concerned with Islamist thinkers and their vision of Egyptian citizenship. Coptic conceptions of citizenship are relegated to a chapter at the end entitled ‘Coptic Responses.’ The title of that chapter is highly revealing, for Copts seem only to exist for scholars of Egypt when they respond to Islamists.
Perhaps the greatest testimony to the post-revolutionary Coptic demand for acknowledgment, is how protesters have transformed the phrase ‘Irfaa raasak ya achi, inta Misri’ (‘Raise your head my brother, you are Egyptian’), much in circulation now as a mark of newfound, revolutionary pride in the nation, into ‘Irfaa raasak ya achi, inta Qibti’ (‘Raise your head my brother, you are a Copt’). In much the way that this act of naming held tremendous importance for Egyptians when the words came from Nasser in the 1950s, recasting the formulation as an acknowledgment of Coptic life and community had tremendous importance for Copts as they stood before the Radio and Television Building in March 2011. And much as the Egyptian national community must reckon with this demand for acknowledgment, so too must scholars of Egypt, in both their research and their pedagogy.
Jad NavigationView Full Map, Topics, and Countries »
كان يا ما كان هي الكلمات التي نحملها معنا\ نحن إليها و … تدفعنا نحو ذكريات وأزمان، \أشياء وأماكن، \صور وأناس لا يمكن أن تنفصل عناclick | email | tweet
Jadalicious / جدلشس
Call for Applicants: Open-Rank Academic Positions Legal Studies Program (The Doha Institute for Graduate Studies) http://t.co/QJNdXIhf9E
12 hours ago
RT @StatusHour: Subscribe on #iTunes and listen to Episode -2 of Status, the show! (Arabic and English!) https://t.co/v0lagXtLgw
yesterday at 2:38 PM
Cities Media Roundup (February 2015) http://t.co/FVCS5h2qN7
yesterday at 10:53 AM
Minyan Village Mourns: A Photographic Essay http://t.co/X8c8PtVj5F
yesterday at 2:09 AM
Mr. Freeze http://t.co/IDijXNrS0E
on Thursday 26 February at 12:39 PM
Latest EntriesView All Entries »
- Cities Media Roundup (February 2015)
- Minyan Village Mourns: A Photographic Essay
- Burj el Imam: Music by Sharif Sehnaoui, Raed Yassin and Alan Bishop
- STATUS/الوضع: Issue 2.1 is Live!
- New Texts Out Now: Jonathan A.C. Brown, Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenges and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy
- Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (February 24)
- Beyond Authenticity: ISIS and the Islamic Legal Tradition
- A New Secularism?
- Turkey Media Roundup (February 24)
- Egypt Media Roundup (February 23)
- Sacrificing Humans
- Cornell University Event: Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad and US Ambassador Dennis Ross Debate US Policy in the Middle East (3 March)
- Syria Media Roundup (February 16)
- Islam Kamal: Filmmaker from Alexandria
- Last Week on Jadaliyya (February 16-22)
- 'The Thing Is to Be Light as Air': An Interview with Mai Al-Nakib
- Open Letter: Racism, Militarism, Poverty: From Ferguson to Palestine
- موسى أساريد: أربعة نصوص
- الجرف الصامد والدروع البشريّة
- O.I.L. Media Roundup (21 February)