Northwestern Events Calendar


Nermeen Mouftah: Reforming Traditions of the “Unlettered Prophet”: Literacy, Virtue and Class in Post-Mubarak Egypt

When: Wednesday, March 2, 2016
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM CT

Where: 1902 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Gina Giliberti  

Group: Global Politics and Religion Research Group

Category: Academic


Literacy has been one of the largest and most enduring nation-building projects of modern Egypt. For both Muslims and Copts, it is has also been intimately tied to religious reform. This talk examines a literacy movement that emerged in the wake of the January 25th uprising in order to interrogate the modalities of “reform” at work in the effort to cultivate a nation of believing (and reading) subjects. Literacy activists turned to reading as a way to forge a new public religion that redefines the values and boundaries of Islam, and fundamentally reorients what constitutes religious practice.

Nermeen Mouftah is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Buffett Institute for Global Studies. She completed her doctoral work at the University of Toronto in 2014, and her ethnographic research explores how religion is defined, marshaled, and condoned in Egypt today by examining charitable and development interventions. ​Her interaction with charitable organizations prompted her second major research project that explores how religion shapes the legal, biological, and affective negotiations involved in practices of orphan care.

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