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About this collection

The Qurna Hillside Oral History Project documents the lives and experiences of residents relocated from their homes on the West Bank of the Nile near Luxor.  Qurna has long been a focal point of interest, prominent for its hillside location near ancient sites and its decorated houses. A government attempt in the 1940s to move the residents to a new settlement designed by architect Hassan Fathy failed, but from 2006 to 2008 numerous village houses were demolished and their residents relocated.  The oral history recordings and transcripts in this collection are the product of a series of interviews conducted in spring 2016 by a team of student and library staff oral history interviewers from The American University in Cairo, assisted by two local liaisons, who visited former residents in their new homes.  The more than seventy interviews, many with elderly men and women, addressed their upbringing, work, family life, material culture, and traditional practices in areas like religion and medicine.  Also covered are encounters with outsiders like tourists and archaeologists, as well as the interviewees’ experience of their relocation. The interviews were conducted in Arabic (with interviewees typically speaking in local dialect); for some interviews access must be requested from RBSCL staff.  This project was a joint effort between AUC’s Rare Books and Special Collections Library and Caroline Simpson’s Qurna History Project, and made possible by an AUC Faculty Research Grant. 

This collection was made possible by generosity of the local residents who were interviewed and the efforts of the five interviewers (Germeen Riad, Habiba Alwalady, Mina Ibrahim, Mohamed Farag,  and Sarah Wassef) and local liaisons Abdu Daramalli and Ahmed elTayib. This project was a joint effort between AUC’s Rare Books and Special Collections Library and Caroline Simpson’s Qurna History Project, and made possible by an AUC Faculty Research Grant.

 
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