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Hearing, Reading, and Seeing Early 20th-Century Egypt

Hearing, Reading, and Seeing Early 20th-Century Egypt explores popular representations of Egypt created by local Egyptians, Western Europeans, and North Americans. Specifically, it is an archival repository of photographic images, sound recordings, silent films, and film magazines that focus on visual and aural conceptions of Egypt.

Since research on these different media is comparatively scant and still requires further investigation, this site showcases the ways in which they produced diverse representations of Egypt in the early twentieth-century.

Whether in Egypt, Iran, Turkey, or the Arab world, studies of visual and aural media in the Middle East have not rigorously examined their foundational nature in developing subsequent vocabularies of nation, memory, and archive. This website seems to address this imbalance by not only asking where and why photography, sound recordings, silent films, and film magazines about Egypt constituted new imaginaries, but also to raise questions about the transnational nature of their production and reception.

Given the disparate geographical locations that are featured in this site, how do we situate popular representations of Egypt and understand them? Focusing on different media enables us to hear, read, and see historical representations of Egypt that emerged in coeval spatial and temporal context and which spoke to local and global audiences. In doing so, this site hopes to create an integrated framework to study these representations as well as to create a repository that highlights the importance of early visual and aural cultures in Egypt, Western Europe, and the United States.

Project Director:

Mario Ruiz