Narratives of Slavery in Late Ottoman Egypt
hosted by Susanna Ferguson
The epithet "abid," Arabic for "slave," still follows those with dark skin as they move around today's Cairo. The word and its negative connotations, however, have a long history. In this episode, Professor Eve Troutt Powell explores this history by tracing the many lives of slaves and slavery in late Ottoman Egypt. She draws on the narratives of Ottoman Egyptian elites, Sudanese slave traders, and slaves themselves to show how the practice of owning people with dark skin shaped a regional Ottoman-Egyptian-Sudanese economy, gendered patterns of elite household life, and prominent forms of textual and visual culture. She reads representations of slavery and slaves' lives in the late nineteenth century to show how practices of Egyptian and Sudanese slave trading and owning, developed far from the decks of Atlantic slavers, nevertheless produced their own forms of racist thinking that have persisted into the present in Egypt as elsewhere.
Eve M. Troutt Powell is the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of History and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of A Different Shade of Colonialism: Egypt, Great Britain and the Mastery of the Sudan (University of California, 2003) and Tell This in My Memory: Stories of Enslavement in Egypt, Sudan and the Late Ottoman Empire (Stanford University Press, 2012). She was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2003.
|Susanna Ferguson is a Ph.D. Candidate in Middle Eastern History at Columbia University. She is currently working on a dissertation entitled "Tracing Tarbiya: Women, Gender and Childrearing in Egypt and Lebanon, 1865-1939."|
Episode No. 283
Release Date: 25 November 2016
Recording Location: University of Pennsylvania
Editing and production by Chris Gratien
Sound excerpts: from archive.org - Katibim (Uskudar'a Gider iken) - Safiye Ayla; from freemusicarchive.org - Bumble Bee Bossa by Podington Bear
Special thanks to Muhtelif for allowing us to use "Bint El Shalabiya" and to Kara Güneş for the composition "Istanbul"
|Tell This in My Memory|
by Eve Troutt Powell
Stanford University Press
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Powell, Eve Troutt. Tell This in My Memory : Stories of Enslavement from Egypt, Sudan, and the Ottoman Empire. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2012.
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