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Jews in 20th Century Cairo: Navigating Social Class and Public Spaces

  • Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies 1140 Amsterdam Ave. New York United States (map)

In this lecture, Alon Tam will explore the social history of the Jewish community in Egypt, with a special emphasis on the city of Cairo, in the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. He will examine such issues as migration, modernity, social mobility, cultural capital, community building, and relations with the larger Muslim society in which those Jews lived. Looking at those themes from the special perspective of performing social identities in various public spaces around Cairo promises to shed new light on the very meaning of Jewishness in actual, everyday life.

The Salo Baron New Voices in Jewish Studies lecture is supported by the generosity of the Salo W. and Jeannette M. Baron Foundation.

Presented jointly by Fordham University's Jewish Studies program and Columbia University's Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies.

Dr. Alon Tam is a social and cultural historian of the Middle East and North Africa. His research interests include urban history, the social history of Jewish communities in that region, historical anthropology, gender, race and ethnicity in the Middle East, and language politics, among others. Tam received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania with an award-winning dissertation titled “Cairo’s Coffeehouses in the Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Centuries: An Urban and Socio-Political History.” A recent fellow at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, he is currently working on Jewish social identities in twentieth century Cairo.