The cassette culture in modern Egypt .. A book that monitors the history of cassette technology in Egypt

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Andrew Simon is a historian and researcher in media and popular culture, particularly the modern Middle East, at Dartmouth College. His book – which has not yet been translated, “Mass Media: Cassette Culture in Modern Egypt” is his first book, and it took him almost ten years to write it, visiting Egypt.
The book is a documentation project for the archive of audiovisual material, including cassette tapes, and is currently working on the release of his second book, which deals with the life of Sheikh Imam, who will release many of his cassette tapes through a digital archive. it includes a large variety of Egyptian singers, including Ahmed Adawiya and Abdel Halim Hafez. And Amr Diab, Sheikh Kishk, Michael Jackson and Madonna, and this project will be a new opportunity for modern generations to get to know those voices.

Stories, songs and rare stories in the book of mass media
Farghaly Kiosk, a small shop on the outskirts of Cairo, the beginning of the idea for the book by the American researcher “Andrew Simon”
Cassette tape At first glance, nostalgia takes you back to the days of childhood. When we hear that word “cassette tape” or cassette tapes, memories bring us back to love songs, Amr Diab, Muhammad Mounir, Medhat Saleh, and in front of her, our fathers and grandfathers remember Umm Kulthum, Abdel Wahab, Abdel Halim Hafez and Warda. And Adawiya, and many, many others we used to salute on their tunes and songs that remind us of first love, nostalgia, pain and separation.
Until recently, a research study was published by the American researcher “Andrew Simon”, a historian specializing in the study of media and Arab culture and the Middle East at Dartmouth University under the title “Mass Media: Cassette Culture in Modern Egypt , which is the author’s first book and this book is based on 10 years of research And personal experiences in Egypt, during which he dealt with “cassette tapes” and how it was an integral part of the lives of Egyptians, and although the topic was dealt with in a political framework the cassette tapes were part of daily life.
Farghaly stand
Unusual in these types of academic studies, the American historian and researcher Andrew Simon begins his book with a different entrance, which is his choice of this small hockey in which there was a unit dedicated to cassette tapes stacked on top of each other. man, locally known as “Farghali”, provided passers-by with basic commodities in the summer of 2015. Cigarette packs were in line, the shelves, and especially a product seemed noticeably less used. An overflowing glass case, at least six feet high, contained hundreds, perhaps thousands, of bands covered with a thick layer of dust. The audio recordings offered are very different from other tools in the store. Everyone from Amr Diab, to Amr Khaled, to the British rock band called the Beatles, Umm Kulthum, Ahmed Adawiya.
The end of the cassette era

With this in mind, Nasser, the owner of the kiosk, said on more than one occasion during the researcher’s collection of the field material: “The cassette is over” (the cassette is rescue). Cassette tapes have become a collector’s item. Although cassette tapes are no longer as popular as they once were, one thing is certain: the history of cassette technology in Egypt has yet to be written.
In this book, which is considered by all accounts – uniquely – as it is the first scientific study based on the idea of ​​documenting cassette tapes and the hidden media role that the idea of ​​recordings plays, and the researcher “Andrew” considers it a “shadow media” where he presents the first in-depth interaction with the cassette culture.In Egypt, by focusing on the social life of the Egyptians, the book also offers a panoramic history through the lens of everyday technology.
The book contains six chapters that revolve around ideas of consumption, law, taste, circulation, history and archives, and place bands and cassette players and their diverse users in direct dialogue with the broader cultural, political, economic and social. The book also examines developments in the mid to late twentieth century, and reveals how cassette technology decentralized state-controlled Egyptian media long before the advent of satellite channels and the Internet, which allowed an unprecedented number of people to participate in creation and circulation. of culture Content.

The book also shows how cassettes simply connected to other media such as records and radio; As a mass media, the book offers a new approach to the study of media in the Middle East, suggesting that media technologies and the stories they tell can help us fundamentally rethink modern state creation.
The author says in the introduction to the book: “In Egypt we will look at how cassette technology is used as a historical window into daily life, and we will meet both the elite and ordinary Egyptians who were dealing with technology as soon as it transformed from a concept into a commodity, by placing cassettes and cassette players in continuous dialogue with Egyptian society and its members, broader historical developments, such as the formation of black markets, the resulting story is characterized by two complementary parts. In the first part, “The cassette culture, mass consumption and the economic openness of Egypt,” we will reveal the birth of the cassette culture in Egypt in connection with the creation of a broader consumption culture. In Part Two, Understanding the Medium: The Social Life of Audio Cassette Technology, we will examine the impact of cassette tapes and their users on the creation of culture, the circulation of content, and the writing of history.

Shadow Archive Center
This book presents and navigates the Egyptian “shadow archive”, which is a constellation of visual, textual and audio material located outside the Egyptian National Archive. Richer for Egypt’s past and broadens the methodological horizons of science in the Middle East.
The Egyptian press is one of the sources in the Shadow Archive, but it has remained under state control for the past decade, with historians increasingly turning to magazines and newspapers to understand modern Egypt. Through journals published in Arabic to reconsider gender, nationalism and collective identity under British colonial rule. Both magazines were nationalized during the era of Gamal Abdel Nasser in accordance with Act No. 156 for “Regulation of the Press.”

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