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Other research product . 2020

“Out of Egypt, into the Great Laugh of Mankind, and I shake the dirt from my sandals as I run”

McGinnis, Ethan Philip;
Open Access
Published: 01 Jan 2020
Publisher: eScholarship, University of California
Country: United States

This essay is comprised of three separate but interconnected sections, each working through at a different level the history of how Southern Illinois came to be called Egypt, and the implications of such a regional nicknaming. In the first, I consider the history of the moniker along with histories of the region through critical discussions of religion, race, and nineteenth century American Egyptomania. In the second, I retrace two cataclysmic events which occurred in Cairo, Illinois, and suggestively implicate by proximity Southern Illinois’ overidentification with Egypt. Finally, I recount and reconsider my own relation to the region and to its history and folklore, and describe my thesis exhibition, which has not yet been mounted due to COVID-19.


Fine arts, Folklore, American studies, Egyptomania, Southern Illinois

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