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Place and Placelessness in the Novels of Najib Mahfouz
April 7 @ 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
Within the scope of cultural geography, Mahfouz’ novels and short stories can be viewed as a source of understanding and re-analyzing of the social geography of Egypt in the first half of the twentieth century, and the transformations underwent by this society during the transitional period from monarchy to the republican regime post-1952.
The approach adapted in this research is based on interpreting Mahfouz’s works as a resource for identifying five types of information in the cultural geography:
- the imagined historical geography of ancient Egypt in Mahfouz’s novels
- the urban landscapes in the last century, particularly in his novels about Cairo on the Nile, and Alexandria along the Mediterranean
- the class structure and struggle of Egyptian society, and its relationship to political and parliamentary life
- hidden scenes of diverse ethnography in Egyptian social life before 1952
- scales of spatial spaces in Mahfouz’ real and imagined geographies, which range from the entire map of Egypt to a mere room in a tiny hotel.
Atef Moatamed is a professor in the Geography Department, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University. He presented his PhD in Arid Land Environment (2001), Faculty of Geography, St. Petersburg University, the Russian Federation. His master’s degree was on Coastal Environment (1996). His area of interest during the last 10 years has focused on the changing of human and environmental interactions in the geography of Egypt. Within the realm of international scientific cooperation, he was the Chancellor of Cultural and Educational Affairs in the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Moscow, Russian Federation (2014-2016).