Mohamed Elshahed, Fellow at Columbia’s Institute for Ideas and Imagination

Egyptian architectural historian Mohamed Elshahed, author of Cairo Since 1900: An Architectural Guide (AUC Press,  2020), has recently been selected as a 2023-2024 Fellow at Columbia University’s Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris. He will begin his year-long residency in the French capital this fall.

The Institute for Ideas and Imagination, now in its fifth year, offers support for faculty and recent doctoral students from all departments and schools to work alongside writers and artists.

This year’s class of fifteen fellows will be working on topics ranging from the fate of the Egyptian gods in ancient Greece to the environmental and social degradation of contemporary Venezuela.

Elshahed, who curated the exhibition “Cairo Modern” at New York’s Center for Architecture in 2021-222, will be working on a book expanding on the Modern Egypt Project, an experimental collecting project that he carried out at the British Museum from 2016 to 2018. Gathering ephemera, advertising materials, photographs, consumer items, clothing, and furniture, this book will look at objects that populate and inhabit the modern Egyptian home, office, shop, and street.

His book Cairo Since 1900 was shortlisted for the 2021 Peter Mackenzie Smith Book Prize and was among the Five Books Best Art Book of 2020. Yasmine El Rashidi, in her review for The New York Times, described it as “a brilliant guide to this modern age and makes for a perfect walking-tour companion, speaking not only of the buildings and their historic significance but also of that era.”

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