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Composing EgyptReading, Writing, and the Emergence of a Modern Nation, 1870-1930$
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Hoda A. Yousef

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780804797115

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804797115.001.0001

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Writing for the Public

Writing for the Public

Schooled Literacies

(p.77) 3 Writing for the Public
Composing Egypt

Hoda A. Yousef

Stanford University Press

This chapter looks at the shift that was occurring in and beyond schools regarding the nature of Arabic literacy and the profession, and skills associated with “writers” in the era of the Arab nahḍa, or renaissance. By looking at not only education itself, but also how the very fabric of instruction was designed, executed, and ultimately deployed, this chapter shows that both “modern” and the more ubiquitous “traditional” schools were introducing fundamental changes to how they taught Arabic language. Various schools were emphasizing “practical” instruction, structuring lessons and exams around the skill of composition, and training students how to think, read, and write about their society. The humble school composition (inshāʾ) became a practical exercise in the art of social commentary, reinforcing certain types of interactions through the written word in communal life.

Keywords:   Arabic renaissance, nahda, composition, schooling, effendiyya, students, al-Azhar, scribes, social commentary, public writers

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