History
English edition  
October  2013
224 pp.
200 color illus. 
Hardbound
19X24 cm
$39.95
LE300
ISBN 9789774165719
For sale worldwide

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The Cotton Plantation Remembered

An Egyptian Family Story Mona Abaza

The story of one family’s relation to the land and cotton in a time of social change

Cotton made the fortune of the Fuuda family, Egyptian landed gentry with peasant origins, during the second part of the nineteenth century. This story, narrated and photographed by a family member who has researched and documented various aspects of her own history, goes well beyond the family photo album to become an attempt to convey how cotton, as the main catalyst and creator of wealth, produced by the beginning of the twentieth century two entirely separate worlds: one privileged and free, the other surviving at a level of bare subsistence, and indentured. The construction of lavish mansions in the Nile Delta countryside and the landowners’ adoption of European lifestyles are juxtaposed visually with the former laborers’ camp of the permanent workers, which became a village (‘izba), and then an urbanized settlement. The story is retold from the perspective of both the landowners and the former workers who were tied to the ‘izba. The book includes family photo albums, photographs of political campaigns and of banquets in the countryside, documents and accounting books, modern portraits of the peasants, and pictures of daily life in the village today. This is a story that fuses the personal and emotional with the scholar’s detached ethnographic reporting—a truly fascinating, informative, and colorful view of life on both sides of a uniquely Egyptian socio-economic institution, and a vanished world: the cotton estate.
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Mona Abaza is a professor in the Department of Sociology at the American University in Cairo. She is the author of The Changing Consumer Cultures of Modern Egypt (AUC Press, 2006) and Twentieth-Century Egyptian Art: The Private Collection of Sherwet Shafei (AUC Press, 2011).

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To watch a video with Mona Abaza talking about her book, click here.

 


 

 

To listen to the lecture that Mona Abaza gave for her book launch, click here.

 

 

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"Mona Abaza constructs an impressive sociological account of the dynamics leading to transforming Egypt's social order through a combination of family reminiscences, rigorous sociological research that informs the reader of the nature of Egypt's social and class relations, and an oral account she collected from her hometown in the Nile Delta countryside."—Arab Studies Quarterly

"An interesting sociological work narrated through family experience and memories."—Pluto Journals

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