Shubra with its large Coptic population, is one of the most iconic neighborhoods of Cairo. It is often described and perceived as a place of living for a certain middle class and a model of interreligious conviviality. As such, Shubra has been represented in novels, movies and soap operas. In this presentation, I will draw on the analysis of two TV series in which action takes place in that neighborhood each offering the description of a certain kind of “cosmopolitanism”. A girl from Shubra, is set in the so-called cosmopolitan era when Italians, Greeks and Jews were living in this part of Cairo among the Egyptians. The crossing of religious boundaries happens here through the love story between Maria, an Italian catholic, and Karim, an Egyptian nationalist fighting the British colonizer and a Muslim. The second serial, Shubra square, tells us the story of two families in today’s Cairo, one Christian and the other Muslim, living in the same building. Both families are strongly tied to one another. Muslims and Christians are represented in this soap opera as closely linked through urban traditions of conviviality. This urban cosmopolitanism draws on the description of food sharing, mutual greetings for each other’s festivals and the buildings accommodating both Christians and Muslims. Those representations will be compared to the results of my ethnographic fieldwork in Shubra. I will discuss the place of these discourses of mutual tolerance in easing everyday coexistence but probably also in hiding blatant discriminations against Coptic Christians in Egypt.
The event will be chaired by Dr. Samuli Schielke.
Dec 12, 2018 | 04:00 PM