This project examines representations of two categories of Egyptian female entertainers, the ‘awâlim and ghawâzî. By situating Egypt’s ‘dancing girls’ in relation to the socio-cultural context of nineteenth-century Britain, it seeks to determine how gendered dynamics of power were culturally constructed and negotiated around these women. Such an approach breaks from previous historiographical contributions to the topic of Egyptian female entertainers by considering the wider implications of imperial power, gender, and sexuality within the politics of their representation. Chapter Two analyzes the cultural significance of the 1834 banishment of the ‘awâlim and ghawâzî from Cairo, and proposes alternative historical perspectives. Chapter Three explores parallels drawn by British travelogue authors between Egypt’s female entertainers and bourgeois archetypes of masculinity and prostitution. Finally, Chapter Four contemplates the impact of Egyptian ‘dancing girls’ upon British society and interprets the typecasting of the ‘awâlim and ghawâzî as indicative of underlying insecurities relating to imperialism and desire.
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Thesis advisor: Kuehn, Thomas
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