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Laurence Deschamps-Laporte

Alexandria Again and Forever

[Alexandria's Rio Cinema, image by Muhamad Kutp, used with permission]

Outside the Middle East, the name of the Egyptian city Alexandria evokes images of the city’s lighthouse, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world or the ancient library of Alexandria. Both are symbolic of a golden age of culture and knowledge. Beyond these historical artifacts, the West has usually perceived the port city as an oasis of religious, cultural and political tolerance—a veritable, yet disappearing cosmopolitan sanctuary. Today’s English-language mass media ...

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Laurence Deschamps-Laporte’s current research focuses on the Da'wa Salafiyya, Egypt's main Salafi movement and its political party al-Nour. She is passionate about deciphering the relationships that link religious leaders and development organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, as well as understanding how Islamic social movements emerge and new Islamic leaders gain legitimacy. She has taught Politics of the Middle East at Oxford, and worked in international development.