[P6397] The (Un-)Making of Social and Material Infrastructures in Post-Revolutionary Egypt

Created by Aya Nassar
Thursday, 12/02/21 11:30 am


How should we understand the entanglement of infrastructure and post-revolutionary politics in Egypt? What can infrastructure highlight (or efface) about everyday contestations, subject formation, and political promise – both in the current moment as well as its historical resonances? This panel seeks to address these questions through a focused conversation on infrastructure in post-revolutionary Egypt. The panel conceptualises infrastructure broadly, building on a large body of work that expanded the notion to social and affective infrastructure as well as its material and physical aspects. Looking at infrastructure as an entangled terrain of contested politics and uneven mobilities, the panel seeks to look at infrastructures that pattern everyday life in rural as well as urban Egypt. Centring Egypt in the last decade as a field of inquiry, the session seeks to question the conceptual and empirical meanings of infrastructure for claiming rights, social control, survival, and ambiguous affective belonging. As such, this discussion will build on a sustained body of research on infrastructure in Egypt (colonial, post-colonial, post-independence and even revolutionary), however it extends this engagement through questioning the new emerging constellations of the politics of infrastructure after 2011.

In order to unpack these questions, the papers on this proposed panel engage in close readings of a variety of infrastructural constellations in the past decade. These constellations include studying political subjectivities of citizens in different urban and rural contexts, their relationships to infrastructures of survival, and their role in forging and reproducing these infrastructures. The papers look at specific sites such as the material infrastructures of village space, the courtroom, shadow infrastructures of urban security, and aerial urban infrastructures to examine how these are sites and relations shape and get shaped by different subject positions. At the heart of the panel’s investigation is the aim to complicate demarcations of state, revolutionary and counterrevolutionary spaces, and to understand some of the ways in which these political infrastructures are continuously being reconfigured through everyday politics. The papers argue that material and social infrastructure are co-constitutive of one another, and of everyday life. Though subjects do negotiate these infrastructures for the sake of survival, it does not mean that they succeed every time. However, within authoritarian times, they can create infrastructures for new possibilities in future political times.


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Aya Nassar

(Durham University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Heba M Khalil

(University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Nada El-Kouny

(The American University in Cairo)
PhD candidate, Rutgers University, Cultural Anthropology Former Journalist Ahram Online, Egypt (2011-2013) Animated Documentary Film Producer (Ado Ato Pictures)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Omnia Khalil

(The Graduate Center, CUNY)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Julia Elyachar

(Princeton University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Discussant;