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Re-Envisioning Egypt 1919-1952$
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Arthur Goldschmidt and Amy J. Johnson

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9789774249006

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774249006.001.0001

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Madams, Murders, and the Media

Madams, Murders, and the Media

Akhbar al-Hawadith and the Emergence of a Mass Culture in 1920s Egypt1

(p.371) 13 Madams, Murders, and the Media
Re-Envisioning Egypt 1919-1952

Shaun T. Lopez

American University in Cairo Press

This chapter tells the story of the 1920 Alexandria serial murders, the “Raya and Sakina” murders, and argues that they played an important role in constructing the notion of an Egyptian national culture in 1920s. The discovery of seventeen bodies buried under the floors of houses in Alexandria's al-Liban neighborhood engendered the first major media sensation in modern Egyptian history, and literally hundreds, if not thousands, of chapters related to the case appeared in the press in the months after the discovery of the first bodies. The Raya and Sakina serial murders attracted national attention, and the great number of Egyptians who followed press coverage of the murders underwent a re-examination of gender, class, and national identifications. Though usually discussed in the post-1952 context, as early as 1920 the beginnings of a “mass-mediated” popular culture began to percolate through Egypt based on notions of acceptable public behavior.

Keywords:   Alexandria serial murders, Raya and Sakina murders, Egyptian national culture, Egyptian history, national identifications

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