SAFN is happy to announce that the winner of the 2021 Christine Wilson Graduate award winner is Noha Fikry, of the University of Toronto, for her paper “Feeding Humans, Eating Animals, and Extending Kitchens: Rooftops as Spaces of Nurturance in Urban Egypt.” Reviewers applauded the novelty of the ethnographic research as well as the attentiveness of her analysis of these rooftop spaces and practices.
Noha is a first-year PhD student in sociocultural anthropology, with a specialization in food studies, at the University of Toronto. Building on her MA thesis on rooftop relations, Noha’s PhD project explores human-animal relations of food in home-rearing practices among women farmers in rural Egypt. Prevalent in weekly markets in Egypt are rural home-reared animals, which are more expensive and preferred than industrially grown poultry or imported meats. In attending to women’s caring and killing relations with goats, chickens, ducks, and geese, Noha asks: How are home-reared animals different from store-bought ones? How does meat become meat? What are the social, ecological, and multispecies relations that eating enables? Especially in light of intensifying agribusiness in Egypt, home-rearing could provide an alternative and resilient way through which women provide food for their families.
Noha’s interest in food and human-animal relations bears roots to her mother, who grew up in a family home featuring a wide array of animals for human sustenance. Alongside these animals were countless handwritten recipes that Noha’s grandmother and mother collected and passionately recreated. Noha thus finds her biggest inspiration in food and the hundreds of handwritten recipe books that her mother passionately fed her, as food for bodies and food for thought. Noha is also interested in questions of narrative, genre boundaries, and ethnographic conventions. As an anthropologist-under-training, Noha has taught undergraduate anthropology courses on Arab family dynamics and Arab societies in the American University in Cairo, during which she co-authored a chapter on social media and COVID-19 with a group of passionate undergraduate students. Noha’s research has appeared in Anthropology of the Middle East,Anthropology & Humanism,SCA’s website, and she has won graduate awards by AAA’s Middle East Section (2018) and Culture & Agriculture Section (2020). She looks forward to putting in generative conversation food studies, anthropologies of food, and animal studies.