Making Cairo Medieval (Transnational Perspectives on Space and Place Series)

Overview

During the nineteenth century, Cairo witnessed once of its most dramatic periods of transformation. Well on its way to becoming a modern and cosmopolitan city, by the end of the century, a 'medieval' Cairo had somehow come into being. While many Europeans in the nineteenth century viewed Cairo as a fundamentally dual city—physically and psychically split between East/West and modern/medieval—the contributors to the provocative collection demonstrate that, in fact, this process of inscription was the result of ...

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Making Cairo Medieval

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Overview

During the nineteenth century, Cairo witnessed once of its most dramatic periods of transformation. Well on its way to becoming a modern and cosmopolitan city, by the end of the century, a 'medieval' Cairo had somehow come into being. While many Europeans in the nineteenth century viewed Cairo as a fundamentally dual city—physically and psychically split between East/West and modern/medieval—the contributors to the provocative collection demonstrate that, in fact, this process of inscription was the result of restoration practices, museology, and tourism initiated by colonial occupiers. The first edited volume to address nineteenth-century Cairo both in terms of its history and the perception of its achievements, this book will be an essential text for courses in architectural and art history dealing with the Islamic world.

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Editorial Reviews

H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online
Typically, scholarship of the urban development of Cairo has emphasized the dichotomy between its 'medieval' and it's 'modern' quarters, with little critical analysis about how this notion of a dual city came about, and the impacts of this treatment on both perceptions of Cairo and on its subsequent development. Through the work of ten scholars, Making Cairo Medieval examines the idea of a 'medieval Cairo'-a concept developed in the nineteenth century by people who were essentially outsiders to the historic quarters of the city, yet whose ideas of refashioning such neighborhoods to create a 'medievalized' Cairo continue to affect the policies governing these quarters of the city today…. To readers with more than a passing interest in the urban history of the city, Making Cairo Medieval is a good re-assessment of frameworks too often taken for granted…. The book is valuable in pointing out how deceptive an orchestrated (though seemingly natural) process of urban change can be.
— Seif El Rashidi, Urban Planner, Aga Khan Cultural Services, Egypt
International Third World Studies Journal and Review
The Egyptian, American, and European-based contributors to Making Cairo Medieval offer a fresh perspective on an early instance of what has come to be known as the heritage industry. The book balances textual analyses with on-the-ground case studies to shed light on various aspects of this complex transformation.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online
Typically, scholarship of the urban development of Cairo has emphasized the dichotomy between its 'medieval' and it's 'modern' quarters, with little critical analysis about how this notion of a dual city came about, and the impacts of this treatment on both perceptions of Cairo and on its subsequent development. Through the work of ten scholars, Making Cairo Medieval examines the idea of a 'medieval Cairo'-a concept developed in the nineteenth century by people who were essentially outsiders to the historic quarters of the city, yet whose ideas of refashioning such neighborhoods to create a 'medievalized' Cairo continue to affect the policies governing these quarters of the city today…. To readers with more than a passing interest in the urban history of the city, Making Cairo Medieval is a good re-assessment of frameworks too often taken for granted…. The book is valuable in pointing out how deceptive an orchestrated (though seemingly natural) process of urban change can be.
— Seif El Rashidi, Urban Planner, Aga Khan Cultural Services, Egypt
Gwendolyn Wright
Making Cairo Medieval will fascinate any scholar who cares about cities, their histories, their transformations, and efforts to control them. It was French specialists and amateurs at the 1867 Paris Exposition who first designated a specific area as 'Islamic Cairo,' though Cairenes soon became active agents. While historic preservation was the ostensible goal, artistic classifications, historical knowledge, cultural hierarchies, urban design, property ownership, tourism, and colonial power all played a role, giving a distinct orientalist tone to the enterprise. The essays offer an illuminating variety of perspectives on the cultural, architectural, political, economic, and intellectual intentions and effects of this immense, ongoing urban project.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online - Seif El Rashidi
Typically, scholarship of the urban development of Cairo has emphasized the dichotomy between its 'medieval' and it's 'modern' quarters, with little critical analysis about how this notion of a dual city came about, and the impacts of this treatment on both perceptions of Cairo and on its subsequent development. Through the work of ten scholars, Making Cairo Medieval examines the idea of a 'medieval Cairo'-a concept developed in the nineteenth century by people who were essentially outsiders to the historic quarters of the city, yet whose ideas of refashioning such neighborhoods to create a 'medievalized' Cairo continue to affect the policies governing these quarters of the city today…. To readers with more than a passing interest in the urban history of the city, Making Cairo Medieval is a good re-assessment of frameworks too often taken for granted…. The book is valuable in pointing out how deceptive an orchestrated (though seemingly natural) process of urban change can be.
Timothy Mitchell
Making Cairo Medieval offers an exciting reappraisal of how and why the city was refashioned in the modern era. Exploring the ways this urban transformation was engineered, portrayed, fought over, and experienced, the book brilliantly illuminates the recent past of the Arab world's great metropolis.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Nezar AlSayyad is chair of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and professor of architecture and planning at the University of California, Berkeley. Irene A. Bierman is professor of art history at the University of California, Los Angeles. Nasser Rabbat is associate professor of architectural history at MIT.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Prologue: The Project of Making Cairo Medieval Part 2 A Medieval City for a Modern World Chapter 3 Disciplining the Eye: Perceiving Medieval Cairo Chapter 4 The Medieval Link: Maqrizi's Khitat and Modern Narratives of Cairo Chapter 5 'Ali Mubarark's Egypt: Between the Testimony of 'Alamuddin and the Imaginary of the Khitat Part 6 Representing and Narrating Chapter 7 Performing Cairo: Orientalism and the City of the Arabian Nights Chapter 8 Nineteenth-Century Images of Cairo: From the Real to the Interpretive Chapter 9 The Museum of What You Shall Have Been Part 10 Disciplining and Making Chapter 11 Nineteenth-Century Cairo: A Dual City? Chapter 12 Modernizing Cairo: A Revisionist Narrative Chapter 13 Medievalization of the Old City as an Ingredient of Cairo's Modernization: Case Study of Bab Zuwayla Chapter 14 The Cemeteries of Cairo and the Comité de Conservation

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