The lecture deals with the issue of cultural heritage of Jews from Egypt.Today reduced to a handful of individuals in Alexandria and Cairo, this community is now considered by those outside the country to be an “inverted” diaspora (Trier 1996), which makes Egypt their cultural “homeland” and works to reaffirm a collective Egyptian Jewish history and identity, by promoting their specific cultural and religious heritage. This ‘patrimonialization’ made it possible to affirm, as an asli masri (native of Egypt), a link to that country through the material traces it had left, as a land filled with collective ancestry and heritage. The talk explores this movement of ‘patrimonialization’ driven by various actors, who promoted buildings and religious artefacts as ‘living traces’ of a past that was no longer associated with current practices and a social group in Egypt. In particular, the convergences and contradictions with issues of tourism, memory, politics, and history will be examined.
Dr. Michèle Baussant is Tenured Senior Research Fellow of Anthropoogy,CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) Paris and a member of the ISP. She has published extensively on the issues of migrations, memory and cultural heritage and coordinated and overseen four national and international research programs around migrations and memory. Among her latest publications: Baussant, Michèle, Chauliac, Marina, Gensburger Sarah et Venel Nancy (eds.), Ethnographie de la mémoire. De Villeurbanne à Valparaiso Territoires, terrains et échelles d’observation, Nanterre, Presses de l’Université de Paris Ouest, 2018;Basset Karine, Baussant, Michèle (eds.), Utopies, nostalgies: approches croisées, Revue Conserveries mémorielles, 2018; Bausant Michèle, Foscarini Giorgia (eds.), Memories at stake: Sharing stories and exchanging experiences, Revue Ethnologies, 2018.