Skip to Content

Photography, Patriarchy, and Intimacy :

Vernacular Albums of Mid-Twentieth Century

Egyptian Youth

April 2, 2010 | 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.| Location: Newcomb Hall, Room 481

View the video of this session here.


Dr. Ryzova examines private anonymous photographic albums created by young Egyptian men and women in the early to mid 20th century. She discusses these albums as both visual narratives and as material artefacts embedded in specific social contexts and what they can tell historians of the region about vernacular everyday modernity and the articulation of social and cultural identities among middling urban groups.

These private albums were meant to be kept hidden from social seniors and circulated in controlled contexts among peers. Dr. Ryzova posits that they provided a space where nascent individualist subjectivities (among other distinctly modern forms of perceiving the self) were performed and cultivated without threatening the patriarchal social order as such. In fact, they illustrate how, in social practice, patriarchy and individualism construct each other.



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.