The Late Great Layla Murad: Egypt's Jewish-Muslim Superstar, Tonight

The life, career and controversies of Egyptian superstar Layla Murad will be discussed by historian Hanan Hammad in her lecture on March 11.
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The life, career and controversies of Egyptian superstar Layla Murad will be discussed by historian Hanan Hammad in her lecture on March 11.

Hanan Hammad, associate professor of history and director of Middle East Studies at Texas Christian University, will give a lecture titled "Layla Murad: Egypt's Jewish-Muslim Star and the Making of Arab-Muslim Popular Culture" at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 11.

The lecture will be in Gearhart Hall (GEAR) Room 26 on the University of Arkansas campus, and is free and open to the public.

Joel Gordon, U of A professor of history and the author of Revolutionary Melodrama: Popular Film and Civic Identity in Nasser's Egypt, said, "Layla Murad (1918-1995) was the first singing star of Arab cinema and a golden voice of the mid-20th century. Born into a Jewish family in Cairo, the daughter of a famous musician, Murad's hit musicals, romantic comedies and melodramas are still considered masterpieces, and are regularly screened on television throughout the Arab world, where she remains a beloved figure." 

In her lecture, Hammad will examine Murad's career and the controversies surrounding her life.

Hammad is a historian of the Modern Middle East whose research focuses primarily on the socioeconomic and socio-cultural developments of the modern Middle East with an emphasis on gender and sexuality in Egypt and the comparative history of modern Egypt and Iran.

Her publications have contributed to the history of masculinity, labor and the working classes, leftist movements, prostitution and sexual violence, and cultural interaction between Egypt and Iran in the 20th century. She is the author of the multi-award-winning book Industrial Sexuality: Gender, Urbanization, and Social Transformation in Egypt (UTP, 2016), and has just completed a new book manuscript on Egyptian star Layla Murad.

This lecture is presented by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies, the Department of History, the Department of Music, the Jewish Studies Program, and the Religious Studies Program at the University of Arkansas.

Learn more about the event on its Facebook page.


Nani Verzon, project/program specialist
Middle East Studies Program


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