Lecture 'Les zabbālīn du Caire: Ethnohistoire d'une hétérotopie au Caire (979-2021)'

For whom
Alumni , Employees , Private individuals , Students
17-03-2023 from 16:00 to 18:00
Campus Boekentoren, Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Gent
Department of Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy

Book presentation by Gaétan Du Roy (Radboud University)

The Cairene garbage collectors (the Zabbalin) settled on the Muqattam slopes in 1970. Soon they attracted the attention of different actors involved in development and religious mission: Egyptian engineers, a French Catholic Sister and the most central character of this story, Father Samʿān, who started a mission among the Zabbalin in 1974.

This preacher founded several churches, today known as the Monastery of Saint Simon the Tanner, a complex of seven churches carved in the Muqattam walls. Through his charismatic style of preaching and his public exorcisms symbolically staging the struggle between Christianity and Islam, Samʿān has become a figurehead of his church.

Gaétan Du Roy has engaged into a historical and long-term ethnographic inquiry into the lasting influence of this figure on the religious practices and the sense of community of the Zabbalin for his book which won the First-Book-Award of the Chaire d'étude du Fait religieux of the Paris Institute of Political Studies.