November 1, 2017 at 8:30 pm

Palestinian Scholar on Rethinking Narratives On Egypt’s Jews, Nov. 15

Dr. Najat Abdul Haq, talking at microphone

Dr.Najat Abdul Haq

Dr. Najat Abdulhaq presents “Rethinking Narratives On Egypt’s Jews: Competing, Complementary or Contradictory Narratives?” on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 5 p.m. in Porter 105.

Abdulhaq is a Palestinian scholar and project manager of the Syrian Radio Network. She will deliver a public lecture on the history of Jewish communities living in Egypt.

The history of Egyptian Jews and Jews who were living in the Arab countries is generally either ignored or subject to heavy debates. The case of Egypt’s Jews is a special one. This specialty is due to two factors. First is the long history of this community dating back to antiquity and Pharaonic times; second is the unique structure and diversity presented by this community. Two narratives dominate the post-1948 history: An Egyptian-Arab narrative and an Israeli-Zionist narrative. These narratives reflect the Middle East and Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not restricted to Egypt but to the history of pre-1948 Jews of the Arab countries. Both present a national discourse.

This lecture presents systematically Israeli-Zionist and Egyptian-Arab nationalistic narratives, analyzing the reasons for their creation and how and why they influenced reading the history of Egyptian Jewry. Further it analyzes the interrelation between both nationalistic narratives.

Abdulhaq is a Palestinian scholar, born 1974 in Nablus and now based in Berlin. She obtained her first degree in economics at the Bir Zeit University, followed by a higher diploma in economics and international relation at the University of Leipzig in Germany. In 2012, she earned a Ph.D. in Middle East Studies on the role of Egypt’s Jews and Greeks in the Egyptian economy 1885-1960 at the University of Erlangen in Germany. She is one of only a few Arab scholars working on the history of Egypt’s Jews, and her study of the economic role of Egypt’s minorities is the first to engage heavily with archival materials and economic analysis. Her book, Jewish and Greek Communities in Egypt: Entrepreneurship and Business Before Nasser, was published by I.B. Tauris in February 2016.

Besides her academic work, Abdulhaq is a journalist who has worked as an editor for about eight years at the Arabic service of Deutsche Welle TV in Berlin. Since June 2015, Abdulhaq has been project manager of the “Syrian Radio Network,” a grass roots media project of Syrian radio stations at the German NGO Media in Cooperation and Transition, MiCT, an NGO that works on media training in crisis and post-crisis regions.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Law, Justice & Culture, the Making and Breaking the Law theme, the Middle East and North African Certificate, and the Sociology & Anthropology Department.

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