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C L 323 • Cairo Cosmopolitan
TTH 330pm-500pm GAR 2.128
(also listed as
MEL 321, MES 342 )
In the globalized Middle East of the tweny-first century, Cairo occupies a unique position as both a relic of a bygone era and a hotbed of political, cultural, and artistic activities that point to emergent contemporary forms of cosmopolitanism. This course offers a look at literary and cinematic representations of Cairo as both an iconic urban center steeped in nostalgia and a wellspring of what Diane Singerman and Paul Amar, in Cairo Cosmopolitan: Politics, Culture, and Urban Space in the New Globalized Middle East, have termed 'vernacular, bottom-up cosmopolitanisms' or grass-roots visions of what a cosmopolitan city should embody. The literary works and films discussed in this course will range from wistful depictions of Cairo as Umm al-dunya or Mother of the Earth in the glory days of her Golden Age to contemporary reflections on the city as a central player in the political, cultural, and demographic dynamics of the Middle East. We will start with an introduction to the term cosmopolitanism and its application to Cairo past and present. We will then move through units on exiles and expatriates, Cairo and the Jewish-Egyptian Diaspora, representations of Cairo in Israeli and Palestinian literature and film, Cairo and the Anglophone encounter, travel literature, Cairo and Alexandria, and reflections on Cairo in the wake of the Arab Spring. This course will be taught in English with the option for advanced students of Hebrew or Arabic to participate in a special section of Hebrew or Arabic Across the Disciplines.
Diane Singerman and Paul Amar, eds. Cairo Cosmopolitan: Politics, Culture, and Urban Space in the New Globalized Middle East (2006), Adaf Soueif The Map of Love (1999), Journalistic writings of Adaf Soueif from the January 2011 Egyptian Revolution, Amir Ramses Jews of Egypt (documentary film, 2012),Excerpts from works by Samia Mehrez, Joel Beinin, Andre Aciman, Deborah Starr and Sasson Somekh, Edward Said, Maria Golia, Ghada Abdel Aal, Lucette Lagnado, Leila Ahmed
Attendance and Participation 30%, Two Response Papers 15% Each (30% total), Final Paper 30%, Person of the Week Presentations 10%