From the Editors
The Egyptian calendar is punctuated by various celebrations associated with military events. The Sixth of October had typically been the most flamboyant of those celebrations. Normally, the population does not actively participate in these festivities. On the streets, the Sixth of October feels like any other day; however, state TV has traditionally aired images of the army, nationalist songs, concerts organized by the ruling party to commemorate the day—and, most ...Keep Reading »
Bulaq: Among the Ruins of an Unfinished Revolution. Directed by Davide Morandini and Fabio Lucchini. UK/Italy/Egypt, 2011. “Bread, freedom, and social justice” has been one of the most memorable chants from Egypt’s year of mass protests. Although world and Egyptian media have been fixated on the symbolic Tahrir Square, little attention has been directed towards places where many Egyptians converging on the square actually live. Bulaq, only a few hundred meters north of ...Keep Reading »
Since February of this year Cairo has become dotted with sites of trauma, locations where violence—and often death—have taken place at the hands of security forces or army personnel. Despite the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces’ (SCAF) claim that it “protected the revolution” and its continuous promises to transition “post-Mubarak Egypt” into democracy, they have stood silent and unremorseful at the loss of human life. A series of violent clashes, sometimes continuing for ...Keep Reading »
Tahrir Square is the epicenter of the Egyptian uprising and the inspiration for the global occupy movement. From here, at the gate of the American University’s downtown campus, busses depart on a regular schedule towards the new campus some forty kilometers away. From downtown Cairo, the historic nineteenth century center, the journey east to New Cairo takes about one hour without traffic. On board the air-conditioned bus students and faculty surf the Internet on their ...Keep Reading »
Nezar AlSayyad. Cairo: Histories of a City. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011. David Sims. Understanding Cairo: the Logic of a City out of Control. Cairo; New York: The American University in Cairo Press, 2010. Nezar AlSayyad’s Cairo: Histories of a City and David Sims’ Understanding Cairo: The Logic of a City out of Control are the latest additions to a vast body of literature on Cairo’s urban development. In these early days following the ...Keep Reading »
A Modern Museum for an Ancient Nation? With the French Revolution came the first truly public museum in the world, the Louvre, which opened its doors in 1793. Private collections owned by wealthy individuals were made accessible to the middle and upper classes in major European cities roughly since the eighteenth century. Access to such collections by a greater public was seen as one of the engines of European enlightenment. With the emergence of public museums came a new ...Keep Reading »
Mohamed Elshahed is a doctoral candidate in the Middle East and Islamic Studies Department at New York University. He lives in Cairo, where he is conducting dissertation research on architecture and urban planning in Egypt from 1939 to 1965, with an emphasis on the Nasser era. His dissertation examines popular discourse on the architectural transformation from anticolonial nationalism to postcolonial developmentalism in Egypt. Mohamed has a Bachelor of Architecture from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and a Master in Architecture Studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Related to the topic of this article, Mohamed wrote a short piece on unrealized proposals for Tahrir Square (found here) and another one on the transformation of Tahrir during the early days of the Egyptian uprising (found here). He currently blogs at CairObserver.