A City Consumed: Urban Commerce, the Cairo Fire, and the Politics of Decolonization in Egypt
Though now remembered as an act of anti-colonial protest leading to the Egyptian military coup of 1952, the Cairo Fire that burned through downtown stores and businesses appeared to many at the time as an act of urban self-destruction and national suicide. The logic behind this latter view has now been largely lost. Offering a revised history, Nancy Reynolds looks to the decades leading up to the fire to show that the lines between foreign and native in city space and commercial merchandise were never so starkly drawn. Consumer goods occupied an uneasy place on anti-colonial agendas for decades in Egypt before the great Cairo Fire. Nationalist leaders frequently railed against commerce as a form of colonial captivity, yet simultaneously expanded local production and consumption to anchor a newly independent economy. Close examination of struggles over dress and shopping reveals that nationhood coalesced informally from the conflicts and collaboration of consumers "from below" as well as more institutional and prescriptive mandates.
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1 The EverMelting City
2 Department Stores and Downtown Shopping
3 Anticolonial Boycotts and National Trade
4 Socks Shoes and Marketing Mass Consumption
5 Postwar Commodity Parables and the Crackingof Late Colonialism
6 The Cairo Fire and Postcolonial Consumption
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advertisement Ahmad al-Ahram al-Batal al-Musawwar Alexandria Arabic Assiout baladi Bank Misr Bata Berkeley boycott British CADN Caire-Ambassade Cairo Fire Cairo Press California Press century Chemla Cicurel clothing colonial commercial commodities consumer consumption cultural customers department stores depicted downtown dress economic Egyp Egypt Egyptian Gazette Egyptian Mail Egyptian national employees European fabrics factory February film footwear foreign French Fuʾad Street galabiya hosiery Ibid ifrangi imported industry interwar Islam Jankowski January Joel Beinin L’Egypte London March men’s merchandise merchants Middle East Misr modern Muhammad Muski Muslim Naguib Mahfouz nationalist NAUK November nylon officials Ottoman pairs political popular postwar Princeton production Radwan Report retail Ruz al-yusuf Sednaoui shoe store shoppers Shurbaji silk social society socks stockings styles tarabish tarbush textile Tignor tion trade tram University in Cairo University of California University Press urban space wear weaving women workers York ʿAbd ʿAdès ʿAtaba