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Exploring Egypt Seminar: Histories and Historiographies

Le dimanche 3 décembre 2023 à 16h00 (heure du Caire), IFAO géolocalisation IFAO

The Comité de conservation des monuments de l’art arabe (Egypt, 1881-1950s)
Readdressing post-colonial narratives

Dina Bakhoum

Langue : anglais.

The 2nd session of the seminar series 'Exploring Egypt: Histories and Historiographies', a joint initiative of the Ifao & the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo (DAIK) organized by Fatma Keshk & Malak Labib, features Dina Bakhoum, post-doctoral fellow at Ifao and Cedej. The session will be held at Ifao, Sunday December 3rd at 4 p.m. It is open to the public in person and remotely on  the YouTube channel of the Ifao.


A khedival decree / superior order [amr ‘ālī] issued in December 1881 established the Comité de conservation des monuments de l’art arabe / Laǧnat Ḥifẓ al-Āṯār al-‘Arabiyya under the Ministry of Awqāf (Islamic Religious Endowments). The Comité, composed of Egyptian and European members, was responsible for inventorying and restoring Arab (Islamic) monuments and later also Coptic monuments with functioning nature (starting 1896). Since its creation, the Comité has been a subject of interest for several scholars and researchers, predominantly art-historians, architects, and heritage conservation specialists. In recent decades the Comité has been also studied through the post-colonial lens. In this second session of the Exploring Egypt seminar, Dina Bakhoum will present and readdress these notions providing new nuanced and contextualized narratives of the Comité. This research is part of her book project which she is working on in the framework of her post-doctoral position at the Institut français d’archéologie orientale (Ifao) and the Centre d’études et de documentation économiques, juridiques et sociales (Cedej).





Dina Bakhoum is an engineer and art historian specializing in cultural heritage conservation and management with long field experience on documentation, restoration and site management projects of Ancient Egyptian, Coptic, Islamic and modern architecture in Cairo and Upper Egypt (2000-present). Her PhD dissertation from the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and Leiden University analyzes the restoration works of the Egyptian Comité de conservation des monuments de l’art arabe (1881-1950s) and her MA thesis from the American University in Cairo discusses the waqf as a maintenance and repair system focusing on the Mamluk period in Egypt (1250-1517). Currently Bakhoum is a post-doctoral researcher at Ifao and Cedej. She also collaborates with the German Archaeological Institute on the Monastery of Anba Hadra project in Aswan.

Among her publications relevant to the subject of this session of the seminar are:
Bakhoum, Dina Ishak, “Mamluk Minarets in Modern Egypt: Tracing Restoration Decisions and Interventions”, in Volait, Mercedes, (ed.), Annales Islamologiques 50, 2016, pp. 147-198.   and

Bakhoum, Dina Ishak, “The Waqf System: Maintenance, Repair and Upkeep”, in Ghazaleh, Pascale (ed.), Held in Trust: Waqf in the Islamic World, The American University in Cairo Press, 2011, pp. 179-196.


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Exploring Egypt Seminar: Histories and Historiographies

A joint collaboration between the Institut français d’archéologie orientale (ifao) & the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo (DAIK), this seminar series aims, broadly speaking, to discuss different aspects related to the production of historical knowledge on Egypt. Speakers are invited to reflect on the different ways of writing, narrating and thinking about Egypt’s history at different periods, as well as on the actors, contexts, and power relations involved in the production of historical narratives. By adopting an interdisciplinary perspective, the seminar series seeks to bring into conversation fields which have traditionally been examined separately, such as the history of Egyptology, the study of modern Egyptian historiography, and the history of heritage and preservation.

In addition, while the seminar series seeks to shed a critical light on the formation of specific disciplinary fields and traditions, it also moves beyond an exclusive focus on professional history writing, in order to explore the various institutions, genres, and channels, through which historical narratives have been produced and disseminated.  Among the themes that will be discussed, for instance, are the different “histories” of Egyptology, archaeology or Arabic and Islamic studies, academic versus “popular” representations of history, and heritage preservation as a site of production of historical narratives.

Exploring Egypt: Histories and Historiographies Seminar is organised by Fatma Keshk, Postdoctoral fellow at DAIK & Ifao and Malak Labib, scientific member of the Ifao.