Egypt is a country of its people. What has been the effect on its inhabitants of the 2011 revolution and subsequent developments? In 2013, a conference held under the auspices of Cairo Papers in Social Science examined this issue from the points of view of anthropologists, historians, political scientists, psychologists, and urban planners. The papers collected here reveal the strategies that various actors employed in this situation. Contributors: Ellis Goldberg, David Sims, Yasmine Ahmed, Deena Abdelmonem, Dina Makram-Ebeid, Clement Henry, Sandrine Gamblin, Hans Christian Korsholm Nielsen, Zeinab Abul-Magd
As the 25 January Revolution got under way and grew from strength to strength, six young Egyptian photographers found themselves following and documenting the events in different parts of Cairo, and converging—as the demonstrations converged—on what became the focal point of the revolution, Tahrir Square. Between them they photographed many of the unprecedented and startling events around the city and in the square, from the early battles of the protesters against heavily armed security forces, through the attacks by paid thugs on camel and horseback, and the peaceful occupation of Tahrir Square, to the victory celebrations and the inspiring clean-up afterward. Together in this stunning visual record they present the days of the revolution in sequence, from tear gas to tears of joy, picturing a story of determination and courage that inspired the world.
In this volume of Cairo Papers in Social Science, researcher Solava Ibrahim explores the relationship between poverty reduction, local administration, and empowerment in Egypt. Examining the link between poverty, participation, and local administration in three governorates—Alexandria, Kafr al-Sheikh, and Assiut—Ibrahim argues that an inadequate system of local administration in Egypt discourages participation, thus hindering sustainable poverty reduction. Comparing the incidence of poverty, the Human Development Index, and level of participation in the three regions, Ibrahim’s research reveals a reversed relationship between poverty and electoral participation. Additionally, the sharp decline in female representation in local councils indicates their failure to empower the poorest segments of society, including women. Acknowledging the vicious circle of bad administration in Egypt, the study analyzes some previous attempts to achieve sustainable poverty reduction, and concludes with a number of recommendations for improvement as a way to encourage empowerment and reduce poverty in Egypt.
The recent revolution in Egypt has shaken the Arab world to its roots. This is not the first time that the world turns its gaze to Egypt, however. A half century ago, Egypt under Nasser became the putative leader of the Arab world and a beacon for all developing nations. Yet during the decades prior to the 2011 revolution, it was ruled by a sclerotic regime plagued by nepotism and corruption, and its economy declined into near shambles. Here, Steven Cook explains how this parlous state of affairs came to be, why the revolution occurred, and where Egypt might be headed next. In a sweeping account of Egypt in the modern era, he incisively chronicles all of the nation’s central historical episodes: the decline of British rule, the rise of Nasser, Egypt’s decision to make peace with Israel, the assassination of Sadat, the emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood, and—finally—the demonstrations that convulsed Tahrir Square and overthrew an entrenched regime.
The great cities of the Middle East and North Africa have long attracted the attention and interest of historians. With the discovery and wider use over the last few decades of the Islamic court records and Ottoman administrative documents, our knowledge of Middle Eastern cities between the seventeenth and early twentieth centuries has vastly expanded. Drawing upon a treasure trove of documents and using a variety of methodologies, the contributors succeed in providing a significant overview of the ways in which Middle Eastern cities can be studied, as well as an excellent introduction to current literature in the field, affording us a foundational volume that enriches our understanding of society in the late Ottoman and colonial periods. Contributors: Edmund Burke III, Leila Fawaz, Bernard Hourcade, Robert Ilbert, Dina Rizk Khoury, Gudrun Krämer, Abdul-Karim Rafeq, Sarah D. Shields, Peter Sluglett, Sami Zubaida.
This unique interdisciplinary collective project is the culmination of research and translation work conducted by AUC students of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds who continue to witness Egypt’s ongoing revolution. This historic event has produced an unprecedented proliferation of political and cultural documents and materials, whether written, oral, or visual. Given their range, different linguistic registers, and referential worlds, these documents present a great challenge to any translator. The contributors to this volume have selectively translated chants, banners, jokes, poems, and interviews, as well as presidential speeches and military communiqués. Their practical translation work is informed by the cultural turn in translation studies and the nuanced role of the translator as negotiator between texts and cultures. The chapters focus on the relationship between translation and semiotics, issues of fidelity and equivalence, creative transformation and rewriting, and the issue of target readership. This mature collective project is in many ways a reenactment of the new infectious revolutionary spirit in Egypt today. “Samia Mehrez and her young colleagues offer a magnificent testimony to the revolution in imagination, signalling the dawn of a new era. A must-read for anyone wanting to grapple with the multiple meanings of Egypt’s unfolding politics.” —Michael Burawoy, UC Berkeley
This collection of essays builds on presentations and debates that were part of Cairo Papers 19th Annual Symposium, “Sights of Knowledge: Debates about Visual Production in the Middle East,” held in spring 2010. It also integrates commissioned contributions by other authors to reflect the wide scope of visual productions and engagements with and about the Middle East. Of special significance is a paper that deals with the 25 January Revolution and the visual productions and effects thereof. How was the revolution experienced through the visual production of everyday life on the square? And how and what forms of visual engagements allow us to tell different façades of experiences and demands that occasioned the revolution? Cairo Papers in Social Science 31:3/4
Current estimates indicate the presence of anywhere between 20,000 and 250,000 Sudanese refugees in Egypt. The great discrepancy in figures, a result of contradictory new reports, is an important demonstration of the way the refugee situation in Cairo is perceived by various interest groups, many of whom continue to underestimate the problems faced by the Sudanese community in Egypt. This collection of oral narratives gives voice to the everyday lives and unique struggles of a small group of refugees displaced to Egypt, in an attempt to identify their problems frequently overlooked by the media. Compiled through a series of interviews conducted by students at the American University in Cairo, the narratives are complemented by a short history of Sudanese refugees in Egypt and a theoretical study of racism against the Sudanese in the country.
The first of two issues that contain a collection of papers delivered at the Cairo Papers 20th Anniversary Symposium. This volume covers political and economic issues. Contributors include: Ali E. Hillal Dessouki, John Westley, Galal Amin, Ibrahim Awad, Paul Sullivan, Mostafa Kamel al-Sayyid, Andrew Tabler, Ann McLennan Smith, and Charles Perreault.
This book moves beyond superficial generalizations about Cairo as a chaotic metropolis in the developing world into an analysis of the ways the city’s eighteen million inhabitants have, in the face of a largely neglectful government, built and shaped their own city. Using a wealth of recent studies on Greater Cairo and a deep reading of informal urban processes, the city and its recent history are portrayed and mapped: the huge, spontaneous neighborhoods; housing; traffic and transport; city government; and its people and their enterprises. The book argues that understanding a city such as Cairo is not a daunting task as long as pre-conceived notions are discarded and care is taken to apprehend available information and to assess it with a critical eye. In the case of Cairo, this approach leads to a conclusion that the city can be considered a kind of success story, in spite of everything.
Beginning with an examination of medieval Islamic fundamentalist movements such as Kharjism, Ibadism, Hanbalism, and Wahhabism, Sayed Khatab looks at the similarities and differences between them and present organizations such as al-Qa‘ida. It may be surprising that many of the radical narratives embraced by modern groups have not emerged recently. Identifying these roots can lead to a better understanding of al-Qa‘ida’s theological and intellectual narratives, and how they effectively indoctrinate youths and attract many of them to violent acts of terrorism. The book then focuses on al-Qa‘ida’s theology, ideology, and tactics; the geographic contours and implications of al-Qa‘ida’s political strategy in relation to the western and eastern countries which are considered enemy states; the impending clash of cultures; and the ideological war within al-Qa‘ida. Innovative in its concept, examining political Islamic thought from a historical to a contemporary perspective, Islamic Fundamentalism generates new understanding of the many complexities of political Islam, and the role of violence and terrorism.
Galal Amin Translated byDavid Wilmsen Illustrations bySamir Abd al-Ghani
At the time of the Egyptian Revolution in 1952, the population of Egypt was around 22 million. At the end of 2002, it stood at 69 million, and was growing at a rate of 1.33 million a year. What happens to a society that grows so quickly, when the habitable and cultivable land of the country is strictly limited? After the success of Whatever Happened to the Egyptians?, Galal Amin now takes a further bemused look at the changes that have taken place in Egyptian society over the past half century, this time considering the disruptions brought about by the surge in population. Basing his arguments on both academic research and his own personal experiences and impressions, and employing the same light humor and keen sense of empathy as in his earlier work, the author discusses how runaway population growth has not only profound effects on many aspects of society—from love and fashion to telephones, the supermarket, and religion—but also predictable effects on the economy.
In his latest exploration of the Egyptian malaise, Galal Amin first looks at the events of the months preceding the Revolution of 25 January 2011, pointing out the most important factors behind popular discontent. He then follows the ups and downs (mainly the downs) of the Revolution: the causes of rising hopes and expectations, mingled with successive disappointments, sometimes verging on despair, not least in the case of the presidential elections, when the Egyptian people were invited to choose between a rock and a hard place. This is followed by an outline of a possible brighter future for Egypt, based on a more balanced and faster growing economy, and a more democratic and equitable society, within a truly independent, modern, and secular state. The story of what happened to the 2011 Revolution may be a sad one, but if viewed within the larger context of Egypt’s economic and social developments of the last century, on which the author’s previous books threw very useful light, it can be regarded as one important step forward toward a much better future.
Based on both academic research and the author’s own personal experiences and impressions, this delightful and informative book examines the underlying causes of some of the more disturbing social, political, economic, and cultural phenomena that characterize Egyptian society in modern times. Through a fascinating and often highly entertaining examination of issues ranging from the middle class, religious fanaticism, and attitudes to the West and Western culture, to the Egyptian institution of the summer holiday by the sea and the performing arts and entertainment, Amin posits that social mobility after the 1952 Revolution changed the customs and habits, moral and material values, and patterns of consumption and investment of the aspiring classes. This insightful book will prove a thought-provoking read for those concerned with emerging economies, international development, and privatization, and will intrigue anyone with an interest in the social history of Egypt.
Wahhabism is often understood as a radical version of Islam responsible for inspiring and motivating Islamic terrorism. Western Imaginings: The Intellectual Contest to Define Wahhabism is an inquiry into how Wahhabism has been understood and represented by Western intellectuals, particularly those belonging to the neo-conservative and liberal traditions. In contrast to the existing literature that treats Wahhabism as a historical phenomenon or a monolithic theological ideology, a literature often written by authors keen to promote geopolitical interests or with ideological axes to grind, Davis’s work considers Wahhabism as a discursive construct crafted and popularized by a Western intellectual elite. This comprehensive study speaks to how and why Western intellectuals have chosen to represent Wahhabism in specific ways, ranging from an analysis of the particular rhetorical techniques employed by these intellectuals to a consideration of the religious and political beliefs that inspire and motivate their decisions. Western Imaginings is aimed at students of political philosophy, intellectual traditions, and sociology; media and policy professionals; and anyone interested in how Islamic doctrines like Wahhabism have been represented in an international context framed by a heightened anxiety about radical Islam.
The 25 January 2011 uprising and the unprecedented dissent and discord to which it gave rise shattered the notion of homogeneity that had characterized state representations of Egypt and Egyptians since 1952. It allowed for the eruption of identities along multiple lines, including class, ideology, culture, and religion, long suppressed by state control. Concomitantly a profusion of women’s voices arose to further challenge the state-managed feminism that had sought to define and carefully circumscribe women’s social and civic roles in Egypt. Women in Revolutionary Egypt takes the uprising as the point of departure for an exploration of how gender in post-Mubarak Egypt came to be rethought, reimagined, and contested. It examines key areas of tension between national and gender identities, including gender empowerment through art and literature, particularly graffiti and poetry, the disciplining of the body, and the politics of history and memory. Shereen Abouelnaga argues that this new cartography of women’s struggle has to be read in a context that takes into consideration the micropolitics of everyday life as well as the larger processes that work to separate the personal from the political. She shows how a new generation of women is resisting, both discursively and visually, the notion of a fixed or ‘authentic’ notion of Egyptian womanhood in spite of prevailing social structures and in face of all gendered politics of imagined nation.
Juxtaposing Muslim scholars’ debates over women’s attendance in mosques with historical descriptions of women’s activities within Middle Eastern and North African mosques, Marion Holmes Katz shows how over the centuries legal scholars’ arguments have often reacted to rather than dictated Muslim women’s behavior. Tracing Sunni legal positions on women in mosques from the second century of the Islamic calendar to the modern period, Katz connects shifts in scholarly terminology and argumentation to changing constructions of gender. Over time, assumptions about women’s changing behavior through the lifecycle gave way to a global preoccupation with sexual temptation, which then became the central rationale for limits on women’s mosque access. At the same time, travel narratives, biographical dictionaries, and religious polemics suggest that women’s usage of mosque space often diverged in both timing and content from the ritual models constructed by scholars. Katz demonstrates both the concrete social and political implications of Islamic legal discourse and the autonomy of women’s mosque-based activities. She also examines women’s mosque access as a trope in Western travelers’ narratives and the evolving significance of women’s mosque attendance among different Islamic currents in the twentieth century.
This book tells a different story about water. Against the backdrop of the end of the Ottoman Empire to the Palestinian uprisings, Palestinian women recount life before and after piped water. While talking about fetching and managing household water, women also talked about being women. Women, Water, and Memory speaks of many different lives. We hear stories about women’s own strength and beauty, and about the woman who married a man whose ugly face made her sick. While one woman married the man “she cared for,” another was relieved that her husband died when she was too old to be forced to remarry. We learn about the joy they feel each time they dance at a wedding, the sheer satisfaction of lighting a cigarette, the loyalty and shared despair toward families with members in prison, and about the tears of sorrow at each death and the delight at each birth.
This research focuses on exploring and explaining women’s perceptions of and social responses to environmental change. Viewing risk selection and perception as ‘dynamic processes’ that are continuously changing and being reinterpreted through people’s ‘worldviews,’ it examines how pollution and decline of environmental conditions come to be regarded by Egyptian women as ‘risky.’ The research was conducted in three structurally different urban settings with different levels of exposure to pollution and different socio-economic levels of their residents. Data were generated by means of in-depth interviews with forty-four women from different walks of life. The research is gender specific, given the primary role of women as health care managers of their families. Thus, for women, environmental issues and health issues are closely related. Vol. 23 No. 4