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Nezar AlSayyad


New Texts Out Now: Nezar AlSayyad, Cairo: Histories of a City

[Cover of Nezar AlSayyad,

Nezar AlSayyad, Cairo: Histories of a City. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011. Jadaliyya (J): Why did you write this book? Nezar AlSayyad (NA): Cairo has fascinated me since I was first exposed to the city’s Islamic heritage in 1973, and it has continued to keep me under its spell. This love affair began to wane by the early 1990s, however, when my appreciation for the city began to be tempered by the realities of its problems. By the time I was asked to write ...

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Nezar AlSayyad


Nezar AlSayyad is Professor of Architecture, Planning, Urban Design, and Urban History at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also the chair of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. He is currently the President of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments, and the editor of its scholarly journal Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review (TDSR). As a scholar, AlSayyad has authored and edited several books on housing, identity, tradition, urbanism, urban design, urban history, urban informality, tourism, and virtuality. His most recent books include Cairo: Histories of a City (Harvard University Press, 2011) and Traditions: The Real, the Hyper, and the Virtual in the Built Environment (Routledge, in press).  Among other projects, AlSayyad has written, co-produced, and co-directed two public television programs, “Virtual Cairo” and “At Home with Mother Earth,” both funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Professionally, AlSayyad maintains an active practice in the Middle East and United States. He is also the Principal in the XXA: Office of Xross-Xultural Architecture, an urban design and planning firm with several award-winning credits.