43 / 2016
Francesco Della Puppa

Book Reviews - Mirjam Milharčič Hladnik (ed.), From Slovenia to Egypt: Aleksandrinke’s Trans-Mediterranean Domestic Workers’ Migration and National Imagination, V & R unipress, Göttingen, 2015

Aleksandrinstvo is the general name of the phenomenon of mass emigration from the western Slovenian region of Goriška to Egypt, whose protagonists, aleksandrinke, were young women: widows, wives, and mothers who sought short or long-term employment in Egyptian cities. They mostly worked as chambermaids, cooks, and various other kinds of domestic helpers, frequently as nannies, sometimes as governesses, teachers, and wet nurses. Since the destination of their migration was the port city of Alexandria, at home they were referred to as aleksandrinke – Alexandrian women – and under this name they remain recorded in the collective memory.

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