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    Hasan and Marika: Screen Shots from a Vanishing Egypt

    This essay analyzes an Egyptian comedy film from the late 1950s as a window—one of the last cinematically—into the vanishing world of Egypt’s minority populations in the aftermath of the Suez Crisis and in the midst of nationalization and Egyptianization. Hasan and Marika (1959) focuses on one particular community, Egyptian Greeks. It borrows heavily from ethnic/religious minority tropes from the long-standing canon of Egyptian film and theater, in particular several classic works that deal with Muslim-Christian-Jewish pairings. It speaks to broader issues of what some scholars have noted to be a shifting or narrowing Levantine ethos. Concurrently, it raises questions about social and cultural transformations in the immediate postcolonial moment. This essay reads the film within the contexts of Egyptian social and cultural history, the position of the Greek community, ongoing limitations to true social integration, and historical questions about the Greek community’s demise. It also reads the film as a deliberate, if at times whimsical, commentary upon Egypt’s changing social landscape, comparing it to other works and later nostalgic depictions of Egypt’s lost multiculturalism.

    $5.00
  • Intercultural Meeting Places of Minorities in Ottoman Salonica

    The multicultural physiognomy of Ottoman Salonica has become a point of reference. Its contrast with the negative attitude shown by some of the local “homogenous” population toward foreign immigrants today has urged me to investigate the daily opportunities for social mixing enjoyed by the ethnic communities of Ottoman Salonica. I examine some of their meeting places and how these Ottoman institutions functioned so that members of separate religious communities often defined themselves through the common urban identity of their multicultural milieu.

    $5.00