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Islamic Bodies and Neoliberal Places in

Contemporary Egyptian Cinema


April 2, 2010 | 10-11 a.m. | Location: Newcomb Hall, Room 481


This paper examines how people and locations are constructed in Egyptian mass mediated visual culture.  Its main focus is a film, Ana Mish Ma‘ahum (I Am Not With Them, 2007), which contrasts sharply with a set of visual codes salient since the early 1970s for depicting (or more to the point, eliding) Islamically marked people and urban places. 

These codes were repeated across a broad swathe of audiovisual media; hence this case study applies not just to cinema, but also to much of what was broadcast on television, and indeed, even visual representation in print media. In the past decade, however, Egyptian media conventions for representing people and locations have been altered significantly, first by the advent of transnational broadcasting, and secondly, by increasingly insistent links to the politics of neoliberalism. 

Dr. Armbrust examines a tension evident in I Am Not With Them and other similar productions between the neoliberalization of Islam, and agendas for infusing Islamic ethics into neoliberalism.



Hosted by the University of Virginia Corcoran Department of History, in collaboration with the Department of Media Studies, the Middle East Studies Program, and the Workshop on Muslim Societies Program.