The Perils of Joy

The Perils of Joy

Contesting Mulid Festivals in Contemporary Egypt

eBook - 2012
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Mulids, festivals in honor of Muslim "friends of God," have been part of Muslim religious and cultural life for close to a thousand years. While many Egyptians see mulids as an expression of joy and love for the Prophet Muhammad and his family, many others see them as opposed to Islam, an expression of a backward mentality, a piece of folklore at best. What is it about a mulid that makes it a threat to Islam and modernity in the eyes of some, and an expression of pious devotion in the eyes of others? What makes the celebration of a saint’s festival appear in such dramatically different contours? The Perils of Joy offers a rich investiga­tion, both historical and ethnographic, of conflicting and transforming attitudes towards festivals in contemporary Egypt. Schielke argues that mulids are characterized by a utopian momen­tum of the extraordinary that troubles the grand schemes of order and perfection that have become hegemonic in Egypt since the twentiethcen­tury. Not an opposition between state and civil society, nor a division between Islamists and secularists, but rather the competition between different perceptions of what makes up a complete life, forms the central line of conflict in the contestation of festive culture.

Book News
Schielke (Zentrum Moderner Orient, Germany) explores contestations over mulids (festivals celebrating Islamic religious figures) in contemporary Egypt. Examining mulids both as festive practice and as subject of discourse, Schielke considers how debates over mulids reflect contested meanings of religion, modernity, class, social order, and moral subjectivity in the context of the late years of the Mubarak regime. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Syracuse, N.Y. : Syracuse University Press, 2012
ISBN: 9780815651918
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 PDF file.)


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