Cornell University

Layla Murad: The Jewish-Muslim Star of Egypt

Thursday, October 6, 2022 at 5:00pm

White Hall, 106
123 Central Ave., Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

This talk employs the life and legacy of Egyptian star Layla Murad, one of the most beloved and remembered Arab singing stars in the twentieth century, to analyze politics of sexuality, ethnicity, socio-cultural interaction between Muslims and Jews, and the crucial role popular culture played in constructing an exclusive Arab-Islamic Egyptian identity. Born into a Jewish family in 1918 and converted to Islam in the late 1940s, Layla Murad provides an excellent example to show that Jews of Egypt and the Arab East broadly lived within a web of emotional, social, and institutional relations thus with multiple and fluid identities, rather than a narrow religious identity.

Hanan Hammad is a sociocultural historian of modern Middle East. She has published widely on topics relevant to sexuality, working classes, women’s history and popular culture. Her book Industrial Sexuality: Gender, Urbanization and Social Transformation in Egypt received multi-awards including National Women's Studies Association and Association for Middle East Women's Studies. Her last publication, Unknown Past: Layla Murad, Jewish-Muslim Star of Egypt is just out of Stanford University Press. Currently, Hammad is a professor of history and the founding director of the Middle East Studies at Texas Christian University.

Sponsored by the Department of Near Eastern Studies, and Jewish Studies Program with co-sponsorship from Comparative Muslim Societies Program, Critical Ottoman and Post Ottoman Studies, and Department of Performing and Media Arts

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Jewish Studies Program, Near Eastern Studies, Comparative Muslim Societies Program, Critical Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Studies, Department of Performing and Media Arts


cascal, jwstcal, cashum, nescal, caspma

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Hanan Hammad

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Texas Christian University

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Dept. Web Site

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