“Hidden Faces” traces the effects of insulating Copts into communal enclaves of withdrawal from the larger mixed Christian-Muslim public. Its focus is on the cult making of contemporary saints and the mystical imaginaries that yield the collective image of the “simple people.” It shows that one key outcome of containing and repressing signs of sainthood is an amplified imagination of secrecy and hiding. This covert politics of holy secrecy, moreover, can further serve to ameliorate an authoritarian narrative of communal belonging under the nation-state.
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