Sounding History: Cassettes, Culture, and Everyday Life in Modern Egypt
Sounding History offers the first in depth analysis of Egypt’s cassette culture. In focusing on the social life of a single mass medium, the project presents a panoramic history of a modern nation-state through the window of an everyday technology. Over the course of five thematic chapters targeting consumer culture, the law, movement, taste, and material remnants, this interdisciplinary enterprise places cassettes, cassette players, and their diverse interlocutors into direct conversation with broader cultural, political, economic, and social developments unfolding primarily in the mid-to-late 20th century. Accordingly, a wide array of elite and ordinary actors, from singers and smugglers to politicians and police officers, surface in the following pages, which contribute to prevailing debates on technology, sound, and archives in and outside of Middle East studies. To intervene in these discussions, this dissertation makes use of primary audio, visual, and textual sources that come together to form a “shadow archive.” At the foundation of this archive are two state-controlled Egyptian magazines, which, along with other untapped materials, this endeavor reads against the grain to advance a recent “acoustic turn” in Middle East historiography, to broaden the methodological horizons of Middle East scholarship, and to elucidate what the vibrant biography of one technology may teach us about a society’s dynamic past.
History; Mass Media; Middle Eastern studies; Popular Culture; Cultural anthropology; Archives; Technology; Middle East; Sound
Starr, Deborah A.; Minawi, Mostafa
Near Eastern Studies
Ph. D., Near Eastern Studies
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis