"Neither in nor Out: Balconies, Class, and Daily Rhythms in Urban Egypt" presented byFarha Ghannam, professor of anthropology at Swarthmore College.
Ghannam is the author of Remaking the Modern and Live and Die Like A Man.
Drawing on ethnographic research in a low-income neighborhood in northern Cairo, this talk explores the balcony, an important affective space that mediates the inside and the outside, the private and the public, the interior and the exterior to examine the interplay between time, space, and daily practices.
The balcony has the potentiality to connect and separate, reveal and conceal, affect and be affected. It may generate joy and induce sadness, display affluence and show need, facilitate companionship and mark loneliness.
This in-betweens generates a sense of doubleness: The balcony could be an object of analysis, a space that embodies meanings, as well as a location that offers us insights and enables us to grasp the dynamic nature of urban life.
As a site of anthropological engagement, the balcony allows us to appreciate the unbreakable link between time and space and helps us analyze how this interplay produces continuity and difference, attachment and detachment, and familiar and new practices.