Accepted paper:

Mixedness and belonging in Egypt

Authors:

Sandra Fernandez (University of St Andrews )

Paper short abstract:

This paper will draw from research done in Cairo from 2007 - 2009 with "half" Egyptians. I elaborate upon their lived experiences and attempts to create comfortable or third spaces (Meredith: 1998) for themselves as part of understanding their own identities in this specific context.

Paper long abstract:

In Egypt, like many other countries of the world, ideas of belonging are directly connected to how the nation is imagined (Baron: 2005). Historically speaking, people who identify as mixed or dual nationals are viewed as threats to the idea of the nation, whose loyalties are questioned as a result of their heritage (Bloemraad et al.: 2008, Howeidy: 2001). This is a notion that has not completely dissipated, resurging in times of crisis and rupture. People who are mixed Egyptian or dual nationals also find themselves held to socio-cultural standards that are not always articulated, this lack of articulation having no effect on the need for conformity. This paper will draw from research done in Cairo from 2007 - 2009 with self - identified 'halfies'. I elaborate upon their lived experiences and attempts to create comfortable or third spaces (Meredith: 1998) for themselves as part of understanding their own identities in this specific context. What emerges is a rigid boundary between being Egyptian and being foreign which is contingent upon intersectional factors such as gender and skin colour, stemming from the nation building process of the early 1900's (Baron: 2005). People were also accepted or rejected socially based upon the ability to perform 'Egyptianness', a complex category in itself. This paper will then close by touching upon how some of these attitudes have yet to change despite the Egyptian revolution of 2011.

panel P140
Moving across racialised boundaries - settling in mixedness? Dialogues in critical mixedness studies [Anthropology of Race and Ethnicity Network]