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Living in a Liminal Age: Cairo’s al-Darb al-Ahmar District Enters the Early Modern

  • Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning 2000 Bonisteel Boulevard, room 2104 Ann Arbor, MI, 48105 United States (map)

Join speaker Shauna Huffaker, an urban historian at the University of Windsor in Ontario, who studies the medieval and early modern Middle East. She will be speaking on the lived experiences of the builders of Cairo’s historic al-Darb al-Ahmar district and its early modern inhabitants and the documents that make their lives visible to us.

Early modern Cairo was crowded urban environment replete with centuries of architectural models from which to draw. Both builders and inhabitants of its neighborhoods engaged with Cairo’s past while simultaneously encountering the incremental transformations associated with the early modern. Interactions with the city from public demonstrations of state power to buying and selling modest private residences were enmeshed with a sense of place. A sustaining local identity was manifest in shops and mosques and homes made of mudbrick and finely dressed Muqattam limestone that grounded Cairo and Cairenes even as the world changed.

The event was organized by the Interdisciplinary Islamic Studies Seminar (IISS) with support from the Global Islamic Studies Center (GISC) and U-M Taubman College.