Copts, Islamists and Jews: Gender, minorities, hybridity (and its limits) in two novellas by Bahaa Abdelmegid

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Abstract

Bahaa Abdelmegid’s novellas Saint Theresa and Sleeping with Strangers feature a range of intertwined relations: sexual, commercial, as neighbours, and as colleagues between Jews, Christians and Muslims in Egyptian society since 1967. I argue that Abdelmegid’s Egyptian masculine is fragile, brittle, and under threat from a dissolute West and an extremist and inauthentic Islam. The paper explores the implications of Abdelmegid’s portrayal of Egyptian society, in which he celebrates its internal diversity whilst simultaneously warning of the dangers and disruptions of ‘too much’ hybridity and of over-familiarity with the ‘Other’. Abdelmegid articulates a modern warning to frail masculinity, as well as to a more stable and worldly-wise feminine, about the dangers of undisciplined relationships with both Western culture and religious fundamentalism, both of which stray away from a real Egypt he constructs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Middle Eastern Studies
Early online date9 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2016

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