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Pioneering Feminist Anthropology in Egypt

Pioneering Feminist Anthropology in Egypt: Selected writings from Cynthia Nelson

Martina Rieker (Editor)
Lila Abu-Lughod (Introduction)

This issue of Cairo Papers is dedicated to the late Cynthia Nelson, an outstanding professor of anthropology at AUC and the founding director of the Institute of Gender and Women’s Studies, who passed away in 2006.

The articles in this issue feature selections from some of her essays published during her scholarly career, grouped under three main themes: phenomenology and the meaning of religious phenomena in Egypt; women, power and politics in the Middle East; and the politics and ethics of location. Together they allow us to see the trajectory of her intellectual development over a career. Marked by strong continuities of focus, her works also reveal shifts in treatment that reflect both her own changing relationship to Egypt and transformations in the wider intellectual world.

Cynthia Nelson was the editor of the very first monograph of the Cairo Papers in Social Science in 1977.  Thirty years later, this volume can mark her wonderful legacy to the humanistic and social scientific understanding of Egypt, a legacy balanced by the enormous institutional contributions she made to establishing feminist anthropology in Egypt.