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Moving Out: Agnostics and Atheists in Egypt

  • Karin van Nieuwkerk
Thursday 31 March 2016
WHAT's NEW?! Spring Lecture Series
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
Lipsius 228

Since the Arab Spring the number of activist atheists and agnostics appears to have grown in Egypt. The revolutionary spirit and demands for change and human rights also inspired some atheists and agnostics to speak out.  They have become particularly active on facebook and youtube channels in which they openly and visibly come out for non-believing. This “new trend” is caught up in a heated debate blaming the Brotherhood’s one year period of rule under Mursi as the main cause. Based on facebook and youtube testimonials, supplemented with several interviews, I will analyze the atheists’ and agnostics’ trajectories and narratives of religious doubt and non-believing as well as the media debate around this “new phenomenon”. Is it a new and growing phenomenon? To what extent is the “growth” related to the revolution? How are non-believers portrayed in the media and what are non-believers’ reasons for moving out?

About Karin van Nieuwkerk

Karin van Nieuwkerk is an anthropologist and professor of contemporary Islam in Europe and the Middle East at the Radboud University. She is the author of "A Trade like any Other": Female Singers and Dancers in Egypt (UTP 1995) and of Performing Piety, Singers and Actor in Egypt’s Islamic Revival (UTP 2013). She is also editor of Women Embracing Islam: Gender and Conversion in the West (UTP 2006), Muslim Rap, Halal Soaps, and Revolutionary Theatre: Artistic Developments in the Muslim World (UTP 2011) and co-editor of Islam and Popular Culture (ed. with Mark LeVine and Martin Stokes, UTP 2016).  Her latest project deals with Moving in and out of Islam. 


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