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Qur'anic recitation in Pittsburgh, PA and Cairo, Egypt: shaping identity, nostalgia, and religious practice across the Egyptian-American diaspora

Shalaby, Mariam A. (2018) Qur'anic recitation in Pittsburgh, PA and Cairo, Egypt: shaping identity, nostalgia, and religious practice across the Egyptian-American diaspora. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Over the past two years, I have worked extensively to investigate the opinions and attitudes of Egyptians in the cities of Pittsburgh and Cairo in regards to the recitation of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam. The field study, ethnographic in nature, aimed to elucidate questions regarding the oral tradition of the Qur’an and its place in modern life for individuals across the Egyptian diaspora. Through interviews and participant-observation in both field sites, these questions were elucidated.

How do Egyptians feel about the role Qur’anic recitation plays in their lives? What value do Egyptian-Americans place on teaching their children to recite the Qur’an? What are Egyptians’ attitudes towards associating Qur’anic recitation with music? And how do these attitudes differ across generations and across national borders? What do these attitudes indicate about these communities’ identities and religious practice directions?

As Egyptians are relatively recent immigrants within the history of immigration to the United States, it is important to learn how this diasporic community has begun and is evolving to meet the demands of a rapidly changing American society.

The role of Qur’anic recitation in this evolution serves here as a point of reference. The tradition of reciting the Qur’an has become an integral part of Egyptian society since the beginning of Islamic influence in the country centuries ago. The tension or harmony between Qur’anic tradition and music in the eyes of Egyptians differs depending on social status,
religious conviction, and other cultural factors. Qur’anic recitation is a focused lens through which to study issues related to Egyptian diaspora and immigration as they relate to sound.
This thesis begins with an introduction to the research, its theoretical framework, methodology, and essential considerations. It then expands on the fieldwork and observations in Pittsburgh, followed by an account of the analogous ethnographic work performed in Cairo. Finally, the two sets of field data are analyzed comparatively, drawing conclusions and posing new questions.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Shalaby, Mariam A.mariamashalaby@gmail.commas561
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWeintraub, Andrewanwein@pitt.eduanwein
Committee MemberNelson,
Committee MemberAyyagari, Shalinisayyagari@pitt.edusayyagari
Committee MemberSoudi, Abdesalamsoudia@pitt.eduSOUDIA
Date: 26 April 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 6 April 2018
Approval Date: 26 April 2018
Submission Date: 20 April 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 110
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Music
David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Qur'an, Quran, Koran, Egypt, Egyptian, Egyptian-American, Islam, diaspora, immigration, American, American Muslims, American Muslim, piety, religion, minority, minorities, ethnomusicology, cultural anthropology, identity, nostalgia, abdul-basit, abdul basit, al minshawi, reciter, recitation, Qur'anic recitation, Quranic recitation, Koranic recitation, Cairo, Pittsburgh, Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, music, tajweed, tajwid, kristina nelson, michael frishkopf, anne rasmussen, generations, generational, first generation, comparative, comparative study, comparison, fieldwork, interview, participant observation, taraweeh, tahfeez, hijab, veiling, Islamic Revival, Egyptian Revolution, Arab Spring
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2018 14:21
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2018 14:21


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