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Censorship and Its Changing Taboos on the Egyptian Stage—From Politics and Religion to Sexual Frustration

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 May 2008

Dina Amin*
Department of Theatre and Department of Global & Interdisciplinary Studies, Villanova University, Villanova, Pa.; e-mail:


When asked about “political control of a population,” Michel Foucault responded, “[P]ower had to gain access to the bodies of individual, to their acts, attitudes, and modes of everyday behavior . . .I believe that the political significance of the problem of sex is due to the fact that sex is located at the point of intersection of the discipline of the body and the control of the population.” This insight is often reflected in the relationship between literature that deals with the body and the discipline imposed on it by various institutions (whether religious or social) in the form of censorship. One good example of that “ethical” exercise of power versus dramatic literature emerged when Sameh Mahran, a professor at the Cairo Academy of Arts, wrote Al-Marakbi (The Boatman), a play in two acts with an epilogue.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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1 Rabinow, Paul, ed., The Foucault Reader (New York: Pantheon Books, 1984), 67Google Scholar.