[R4753] Alternative Archives: New Approaches to Egypt's Modern History

Created by Andrew Simon
Sunday, 11/19/17 1:00pm


Missing documents, censored periodicals, restrictive clearances, and shuttered state archives are among the many obstacles scholars encounter when writing histories of Egypt after the ascent of the Free Officers in 1952. In light of these challenges, it is not surprising that earlier periods of Egypt's past have received more attention from academics than the second half of the twentieth century. In the spirit of discussing how one may paint a richer picture of Egypt's recent history in the absence of the Egyptian National Archives, this round table brings together scholars working with cultural periodicals, Islamic magazines, audio recordings, films, works of fiction, and oral interviews, among other primary sources bridging formal and informal repositories. Together, we will consider a number of pressing questions that include, but are in no way limited to:

What "alternative archives" are available to scholars and how may the events, actors, and ideas surfacing in these collections enrich accounts of Egypt under Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat, and Hosni Mubarak?

How may researchers working outside of the Egyptian National Archives and other state venues advance prevailing discussions of archives, official history, and state power in Egypt and well beyond its borders?

What opportunities exist for interdisciplinary work on this dynamic historical period and what new insights may such investigations yield?

At the start of this round table, participants will briefly address the methods and sources they harness in their work as well as the ways it contributes to broader debates in the historical study of Egypt. Following these short introductions, all of those in attendance will be encouraged to engage in a lively, open discussion on archival research (broadly defined) in Egypt, relevant works of scholarship on the post-1952 period, and, when applicable, the challenges speakers may have personally faced when looking into Egypt's recent past and the acts of creativity these difficulties inspired. By undertaking this agenda, this round table aims to accomplish two major goals: to critically discuss an era of Egypt's history that remains to be sufficiently explored, and to launch a larger conversation on archives and the writing of history in Middle East studies.





Aaron Rock-Singer

(Cornell University)
Aaron Rock-Singer is a social and intellectual historian of Islam and the Modern Middle East. He received his B.A from the University of Pennsylvania (2007), his M.Phil from St. Antony’s College, Oxford (2010) and his Ph.D from Princeton’s Department...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Andrew Simon

(Dartmouth College)
I am a social historian of the modern Middle East, with a particular focus on popular culture, everyday technologies, and the study of sound. I hold a B.A. in Arabic, Middle East, and Islamic Studies from Duke University and was a fellow at the Center...
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Jacob Hoigilt

(Peace Research Institute Oslo)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;