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Sherene Seikaly, Laila Shereen Sakr, Hoda Elsadda, Pascale Ghazaleh, Lina Attalah, and Dina Mansour


Who Are the People? A Conversation on the Assemblages and the Archives of the People

[Photo by Virginie Nguyen courtesy of Mada Masr]

Scholars of the Middle East have grappled for several decades with what seemed to be the death of “formal” or “official” politics in their attempt to explain the seemingly impenetrable force of authoritarianism and the pacification of Arab politics. Some work reified older understandings of the idea of agency and the centrality of state institutions. Others broke new ground on the idea of the individual, critically deconstructing the seemingly self-evident meaning and ...

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Sherene Seikaly is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California-Santa Barbara. She is Editor of the Arab Studies Journal and co-founder and contributing editor of Jadaliyya ezine. She holds a doctorate in history and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies from New York University, an MA from Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, and a BA from the University of California, San Diego. Before coming to AUC, Seikaly was the Qatar Postdoctoral Fellow at Georgetown University (2007-2008) and a postdoctoral fellow in Middle Eastern studies in the Europe Program at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2008-2009).

Situated at the intersections of studies on consumption, political economy, and colonialism, Seikaly's in-progress manuscript, Bare Needs: Palestinian Capitalists and British Colonial Rule explores economic thought before the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, when Palestinians became either refugees or second-class citizens. The manuscript reveals how Palestinian capitalists and British colonial officials used economy to shape notions and experiences of territory, nationalism, the home, and the body.

Laila Shereen Sakr is VJ Um Amel online. She is a digital media theorist and artist known for creating the archive media system, R-Shief. 

Hoda Elsadda is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cairo University. Elsadda is also the Co-founder and current Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Women and Memory Forum. She has written articles and edited books dealing with discourses on gender in modern Arab history, particularly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Her research focuses on gender and culture in the Middle East, Arab women's writing, oral histories, women’s creative writing, comparative literature, and Arabic literature and popular culture.

Pascale Ghazaleh is Assistant Professor of History at the American University in Cairo. She is the author of Fortunes Urbaines et Strategies Sociales: Genealogies Patrimoniales au Caire, 1780-1830 (Cairo: IFAO, 2010), and the editor of Held in Trust: Waqf in the Islamic World (Cairo: AUC Press, 2011).

Lina Attalah balances between leading a team of young journalists and being one herself. As chief editor, she celebrates the individuality of her staff members, encouraging them to find stories that interest them and tell them in their own voices. Always attempting to experiment and break molds, Lina is known to embrace unconventional story pitches and help develop them into valuable and unique content. Lina takes every chance to escape the desk and put her journalist cap back on. Her practice has taken her all over the region, often arriving to places at a time that most people are fleeing them. A poetic thread shines through Lina’s writing even as she deciphers complex social and political news, revealing her ever-present artistic side.

Dina Mansour (PhD) is the Fellowships and Research Grants Manager at the Arab Council for the Social Sciences and an Editor of the Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism journal.