Industrial Sexualities in Twentieth-Century Egypt

Episode 350

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In this episode, we discuss the emergence of new masculinities, femininities, and visions of "good sex" in Egypt's al-Mahalla al-Kubra, a city in the Nile Delta that became one of the main centers of industrial production and manufacturing in the early twentieth century. How did men and women who came to al-Mahalla to work in the factory, run boardinghouses, and perform other forms of labor negotiate the coercive hierarchies of industrial capitalism in their daily and intimate lives? What can we learn about modes of existence and resistance from considering their experiences, and how do the stories of working-class men and women challenge or nuance the more well-known accounts of gender and family in Egypt that have been based on the middle-class press?

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Contributor Bios

Hanan Hammed is Associate Professor of History and the director of Middle East Studies at Texas Christian University. She earned her Ph.D. in Middle East History with a supporting field in Persian studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2009 and was a research fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Germany) in 2011 and at Woolf Institute (Cambridge, UK) in 2015.
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."
Seçil Yilmaz received her PhD degree in History from the Graduate Center, CUNY with her dissertation entitled "Love in the Time of Syphilis: Medicine and Sex in the Ottoman Empire, 1860-1922." She is currently a Mellon postdoctoral fellow at the Society for the Humanities and Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University.


Episode No. 350
Release Date: 05 March 2018
Recording Location: Washington, D.C.
Audio editing by Susanna Ferguson
Music: Harmandali - Recep Efendi, Cemal Efendi
Images and bibliography courtesy of Hanan Hammad


"Workers Leaving the Factory," Amil al-Mahalla, 1940s.

Workshop,  Company Archive, 1950s.

Select Bibliography

Kozma, Liat. Policing Egyptian Women: Sex, Law, and Medicine in Khedival Egypt. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2011.

Beinin, Joel. Workers and Peasants in the Modern Middle East. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Tucker, Judith. Women in Nineteenth-Century Egypt. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Thompson, E. P. "Time, Work-Discipline and Industrial Capitalism." Past and Present 38, December 1967, 56-97.

Goldberg, Ellis. Tinker, Tailor, and Textile Worker: Class and Politics in Egypt, 1930-1952. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.

Robertson, Claire. "Invisible Workers: African Women and the Problems of the Self- Employed in Labour History." In Third World Workers: Comparative International Labour Studies, ed. Peter Claus Wolfgang Gutkind. Leiden: Brill, 1988, 180- 198.

Quataert , Donald . "Ottoman Women, Households, and Textile Manufacturing 1800- 1914." In The Modern Middle East: A Reader. Edited by Albert Hourani, Philip S. Khoury and Mary C. Wilson. London: I.B. Tauris, 1993.

Ong, Aihwa and Michael G. Peletz. Bewitching Women, Pious Men: Gender and Body Politics in Southeast Asia. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

Lockman, Zachary (ed.). Workers and Working Classes in the Middle East: Struggles, Histories, Historiographies. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994.

Eugene Rogan (ed.), Outside In: Marginality in the Modern Middle East. London: I.B. Tauris, 2001.


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