Abstract: Using dead bodies for medical purposes has long been considered taboo in Egypt. Public health campaigns, physicians’ pleas, and the urgings of religious scholars all failed to alter public opinion regarding the donation of dead bodies either for instructional material or for therapeutic treatments. Yet in 2011, amid revolutionary turmoil in Egypt, a campaign was launched for people to donate their eyes upon death; this time, people readily signed up to be donors. Focusing on mass eye trauma that occurred in Egypt amid the political uprisings of 2011, I raise questions about when and why Islam can explain people’s attitudes and behaviors, particularly toward death and medicine. The case of mass eye trauma in Egypt and citizens’ reformulations of questions once jealously controlled by state-aligned doctors, politicians, and religious scholars unsettles the boundaries between ‘religion’ and ‘secularism’ in medical practice.
2016. "All Eyes on Egypt: Islam and the Medical Use of Dead Bodies Amidst Cairo’s Political Unrest." Medical Anthropology, 35(3): 220-35.
Sherine Hamdy, "All Eyes on Egypt: Islam and the Medical Use of Dead Bodies amidst Cairo's Political Unrest", contributed by James Adams, STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 4 August 2018, accessed 1 October 2023. https://stsinfrastructures.org/content/all-eyes-egypt-islam-and-medical-use-dead-bodies-amidst-cairos-political-unrest