The moulid—a popular festival in Egypt that celebrates venerated figures—has become an object of sanitization and ritualization by the state and state religion. The moulid has become an opposite figure of modernity. It has become meaningful as a familiar irrational messy thing that confuses rational knowledge about the moulid. Rather than abstracting the meaning of the moulid as something senseless, the thesis illuminates how messiness generates meaningful knowledge. The thesis immanently plunges in the moulid to trace how through materials, objects, and bodies the festival comes into being. In telling a material story through participant observation and in taking Ingold’s dwelling perspective, the thesis questions how nonhuman stories can make the stories of humans leak to arrive at a singular new material anthropology of the moulid. By attending to mimetic things, the thesis unearths the modern claim on the emancipatory nature of reason. The thesis defamiliarizes the modern human mapping that univocally categorizes the moulid by exploring how the moulid defies any norm referent in its multivocality. One of its senses shows how the moulid has become an inhabitable ground for the creation of public art, without the thesis assuming public space to be a given. The thesis conceptualizes the moulid as a landscape that explores its potentialities to articulate an otherwise to modern capitalism in order to express an immanent ethics of joyful hope amidst a necropolitical temporality.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Cynthia Nelson Institute for Gender and Women's Studies

Degree Name

MA in Gender & Women's Studies

Graduation Date

Spring 5-31-2020

Submission Date


First Advisor

Rieker, Martina

Committee Member 1

Sabea, Hanan

Committee Member 2

Khayyat, Munira


310 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Available for download on Tuesday, September 26, 2023