Tahtawi was commissioned by the Wali (governor) Mohamed Ali to set up a museum for Egyptian antiquities under his supervision, which was to be located in the Ezbakiah Garden in downtown Cairo. Once the museu...
obtained remains understudied. Recent scholarship on book ownership in Damascus and Cairo, illustrates that books were a relatively common material fixture of Mamluk and Ottoman society. 2 Furthermore, the religious foundations of these and other cities also had extensive collections. To fill these
practices. Drawing on in-depth ethnographic research in Ezbet Khairallah (or Ezba), a large informal settlement
to the south of downtown Cairo from fall 2009 to early 2011, and a brief informal visit in 2016, this article examines two discursive structures that speak past each other about how and