The Copts of Egypt: The Challenges of Modernisation and Identity

The Copts of Egypt: The Challenges of Modernisation and Identity

by Vivian Ibrahim
     
 

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The Coptic Christians of Egypt have traditionally been portrayed as a "beleaguered minority." This book uses newly discovered Coptic archival sources to present a vivid and alternative image of the community, examining Coptic agency in the twentieth century. Vivian Ibrahim reveals a strong Coptic response to the emergence and threats of Political Islam from the

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Overview

The Coptic Christians of Egypt have traditionally been portrayed as a "beleaguered minority." This book uses newly discovered Coptic archival sources to present a vivid and alternative image of the community, examining Coptic agency in the twentieth century. Vivian Ibrahim reveals a strong Coptic response to the emergence and threats of Political Islam from the 1940s, and examines how Copts negotiated a role for themselves during the colonial period and in Nasser's post-revolutionary Egypt. Dismissing the monolithic portrayal of the community, she highlights the varied Coptic factions and groups that contributed to the identity of the Coptic community in the first half of the twentieth century.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Vivian Ibrahim writes about the Copts of Egypt with clarity. Her book provides a welcome and eloquent insight into the complexity and controversial dynamics of Egyptian inter-communal relations." – H.E. Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations (1992-1997)

"This book represents a major departure in the current historiography of modern Egyptian history and is a very significant contribution to the field. Vivian Ibrahim presents a fresh and much needed study on the Coptic community, highlighting the internal division vis-à-vis the process of modernization. She presents an extraordinary case involving a group of Coptic youths who kidnapped the Coptic Pope, in post-revolutionary Egypt, in order to push their political and religious agenda, clearly showing the necessity to break away from past policies, de facto presenting a new portrayal of what has been often presented as a homogeneous and vulnerable community. The book will be of interest to all scholars of modern Egyptian history and politics but also to those interested in the history of the Copts as a Christian minority in the Middle East." – Roberto Mazza, Assistant Professor of History, Western Illinois University

"This is an important and timely book which challenges the standard portrayal of identity politics in the modern history of Egypt and of the Arab Middle East. By bringing together a multiplicity of Coptic voices, groups and tensions Vivian Ibrahim skillfully deconstructs and questions a number of assumptions on the Copts including the 'persecuted minority' discourse and essentialist representation of the community as a unified religious entity. She does so meticulously through a diligent mining of an impressive range of Arabic and English sources which allow the author to unveil unexplored facets of community state/relations and, most originally, the changing socio-economic, institutional and ideological foundations which underscored the evolution of a fractured Coptic polity. This book is community history at its best, an essential critical read for those interested in Egyptian nation and state building as well as in the history of Middle Eastern Christians." – Nelida Fuccaro, Reader in the Modern History of the Arab Middle East, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781780764665
Publisher:
I. B.Tauris & Company, Limited
Publication date:
04/15/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

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