Unknown Past: Layla Murad, the Jewish-Muslim Star of Egypt

Unknown Past: Layla Murad, the Jewish-Muslim Star of Egypt

In this talk, Professor Hanan Hammad
employs the life and legacy of Layla Murad,
one of the most beloved and remembered
Arab singing stars in the twentieth century, to analyze politics of sexuality, ethnicity, socio-cultural interaction between Muslims and Jews, and the crucial role popular culture played in constructing an exclusive Arab-Islamic Egyptian identity. Born into a
Jewish family in 1918 and converted to
Islam in the late 1940s, Layla Murad
provides an excellent example to
showcase that Jews of Egypt and the
Arab East broadly lived within a web of
emotional, social, and institutional relations with multiple and fluid identities,
rather than a narrow religious identity.

Hanan Hammad, professor of history and founding director of Middle East studies at Texas Christian University.

This talk is the keynote lecture for the “Reimagining Jewish Life in the Modern Middle East, 1800–Present: Culture, Society, and History” workshop.

Virtual Event