Creating the New Egyptian Woman: Consumerism, Education, and National Identity, 1863-1922 (Hardcover)
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A "New Woman" was announced in Egypt at the turn of the nineteenth century. With a new genre of prescriptive literature, new products, a new education, and a physically changed home, she increasingly emerged in public life. This book discusses and debates the place of Egyptian women, while focusing on consumerism and education. Russell sheds much-needed light on the struggle for identity in Egypt at a time of considerable flux and tension and provides a powerful angle to explore changing concepts of social dynamics and broader debates of what it meant to be "modern" while retaining local authenticity.
About the Author
Mona L. Russell has taught at the American University in Cairo, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"Mona Russell makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the complex ways modernization affected changes in the status and behavior of urban women in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Egypt. She demonstrates with mounds of archival evidence that the critical forces shaping the New Woman were consumerism and education. Her nuanced examination of the impact of textbooks on women's education is especially original and enlightening. One crucial theme that Russell weaves throughout her book is the way new and old ideas and institutions persisted side by side for as long as they did, sometimes harmoniously but often not. Whether she belonged to the upper class or the middle class, the New Woman found herself locked into class that was caught in-between the new and the old. I highly recommend Creating the New Egyptian Woman. It is a fresh take on the important subject of what it means to be 'modern' in the Middle East."--Philip S. Khoury, Professor of History and Dean of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Mona Russell's innovative research lifts Egypt's ‘new woman’ out of the pages of turn-of-the-century discourse about nationalism and modernity, and into a body of historiography that chronicles the activities of "modern," elite nationalists. Creating the New Egyptian Woman challenges the notion that transformations in women's roles--in response to changes in the world economy, Egyptian state-building, and British colonialism--were either wholly positive or detrimental. Indeed, Russell skillfully illustrates the double bind that was turn-of-the twentieth-century Egyptian modernity: through education and consumerism middle- and upper-class women were both liberated from their homes and further bound to them.”--Lisa Pollard, Associate Professor of History, UNC-Wilmington Author of Nurturing the Nation: The Family Politics of Modernizing, Colonizing and Liberating Egypt