The Chinese Lingerie Dealers of Upper Egypt

Talk by Peter Hessler

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Monday, May 13, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Charles E. Young Research Library
Main Conference Room 11360

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Lunch will be provided at the talk

After living in China for more than a decade, Peter Hessler moved to Cairo in 2011, to serve as the New Yorker Magazine’s Egypt correspondent. For five years he studied Arabic while covering culture, archaeology, and the Egyptian Arab Spring. In 2014, while researching archaeology in Upper Egypt, he stumbled onto a small community of Chinese migrants who were living in remote cities on the Nile. These migrants had carved out an unusual niche in these conservative Upper Egyptian communities: they sold lingerie. For two years, Hessler spent time with these Chinese migrants and their Egyptian customers, observing their unexpected cultural and commercial exchanges. Along the way, he gained new insight into China, Egypt, and the cultural issues of the Arab Spring.

Peter Hessler is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of four acclaimed books about China and has contributed numerous articles to The New Yorker and National Geographic, among other publications. In 2011, Hessler received a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" in recognition and encouragement of his "keenly observed accounts of ordinary people responding to the complexities of life in such rapidly changing societies as Reform Era China."

Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies, UCLA Law