Grant TypeFejos Postdoctoral Fellowship
Institutional AffiliationMichigan, Ann Arbor, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10646
Approve DateOctober 12, 2023
Project TitleMoll, Yasmin (Michigan, Ann Arbor, U. of) "'Nubia is a Place Inside Us': Collective Memory, Salvage Anthropology, and Indigenous Activism in Egypt"
This film explores the efforts of young Nubians to educate themselves about their ancient histories and heritage while raising awareness about the racism and dispossession they must grapple with as an indigenous and black community in Egypt. The salvage anthropology of Nubia before its 1964 drowning by the Aswan High Dam plays a key role in this activism as a new generation of Nubian community leaders creatively remediate ethnographic photos of “Old Nubia.” Whether in person or on-screen, their activism harnesses nostalgia for a lost homeland to both make claims for legal and moral recognition and to cultivate across generations loving attachment to Nubian heritage. The film follows a group of Nubian activists in Cairo as they organize performances, hold meetings, give media interviews, celebrate milestones, and debate with elders what it means to keep Nubia alive as “a place inside us.” It interweaves these scenes with animations of displacement memories and the filmmaker’s family histories in Nubia. In doing so, the film sheds light on enduring anthropological themes of difference, belonging, and social transformation. It also brings a transnational, South-South, and Afro-Arab perspective to questions of indigeneity, race, and intangible heritage in relation to social memory’s technological mediation.