Looking for women in Medieval Cairo: imagined histories and historical realities

Cortese, Delia ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5507-9332 (2014) Looking for women in Medieval Cairo: imagined histories and historical realities. In: Cairo Under Wraps Exhibition, 19 Nov 2014, The Ismaili Centre Toronto. . [Conference or Workshop Item]


This lecture takes us on a virtual journey in search for women in medieval Cairo. Exploring palaces and ordinary houses, markets and cemeteries, leisure pavilions on the Nile and ateliers, the quest for the attainment of a historically accurate portrayal of women in medieval Egypt turns the social historian into a veritable detective. Armed with the forensic tools of textual analysis, material evidence, scarce documentary sources and a dose of intuition Dr. Cortese unpacks anecdotes, literary conventions, historical accounts and forged stories to shed light on women’s participation – whether real or perceived- to the political, economic, social and cultural life of the time and place they lived in. The lecture will focus on women in Cairo in the Fāṭimid period (969-1171). The Fāṭimids founded Cairo in 969 as their capital upon conquering Egypt. The royal city sat near Fusṭāṭ, one of the largest and most thriving commercial hubs of the medieval Islamic world. During Fāṭimid rule, royal patronage, religious tolerance and commercial prosperity promoted the establishment and growth of a cosmopolitan urban society that brought to Cairo and Fusṭāṭ women of varied religious, ethnic and social backgrounds. Some of these women rose to become royalty, some others left their mark as transmitters of learning. All mattered in adding to our knowledge of life in medieval Cairo.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Research Areas: A. > Perspectives in Religion group
Item ID: 13999
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Delia Cortese
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2014 14:50
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:32
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/13999

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