Noha Ezz El-Din Fikry Ismail

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Toronto, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10607

Approve Date

September 29, 2023

Project Title

Ismail, Noha (Toronto, U. of) "On Rooftops and in Courtyards: Home-rearing Practices among Women Farmers in Rural Egypt"

This ethnographic project explores animal rearing practices among women farmers and its emotional valences of caring, killing, and eating. The first question that this research begins with is: How do animals become meat? Stretching from this question are several others that focus on fluids, rituals, relations, settings, spaces, and actors that contribute to animals becoming meat. Alongside goats, chickens, and rabbits that women farmers rear as food, this project exposes other visible and invisible nonhuman animals and beings who play significant roles in my ethnographic site. A key intervention of this project is proposing tarbiyya as a conceptual and methodological tool to understanding human-animal relations in Egypt and the Middle East. Commonly used to refer to rearing animals for food but also rearing human children, tarbiyya is an Arabic word that exposes the nurturing and disciplining components of relating to specific nonhuman animals. By juxtaposing food animals and other inedible beings, I illustrate the ways in which care, violence, indifference, or welcome is extended to humans and nonhumans. Circling back to kitchens, this project illuminates the culinary values that rearing animals as food provides for women as good mothers, competent cooks, generous hosts, and for families as well-fed and nourished.