Music ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-4-2020



In the mid 1960s, almost 100,000 Egyptian Nubians, people Indigenous to the Nile River Valley, were removed from their ancestral homeland due to the creation of the Aswan High Dam. In the years surrounding their displacement, Nubian musicians in Cairo and villages in new settlement areas gathered traditional Nubian songs and composed new songs to form a distinctive Nubian musical repertoire. This thesis addresses contemporary Nubian musical performance and the role of these reclaimed and newly-written songs in maintaining and revitalizing not only Nubian languages and culture, but especially senses of self in relation to place and, above all, to the Nile River. Using frameworks of Arabization, settler colonialism and Bhaba’s concept of re-membering (1994), I show how songs re-create Nubian communal ways of knowing and being that reconnect Egyptian Nubians to the material homeland they left behind, or, in the case of so many young disenfranchised Nubians, have never even known.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Music

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Kristina Jocobsen

Second Committee Member

Dr. Ana Alonso-Minutti

Third Committee Member

Dr. David Bashwiner

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Michael Frishkopf

Fifth Committee Member

Dr. Trevor Reed




Nubian, displacement, acoustemology, embodiment, environment, soundscape, ecological theory of perception

Document Type