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Judy Barsalou

Recalling the Past: The Battle over History, Collective Memory and Memorialization in Egypt

[A memorial in Tahrir Square, February 2011. Image by YasminMoll/Flickr.]

History is inescapable in Egypt. Foreign tourists drawn to the abundant physical remains of Coptic, Pharaonic, Hellenic, and Islamic cultures are reminded of the contemporary past as they head downtown from the Cairo airport past the triumphant October War Panorama, a war museum commemorating the 1973 war with fighter jets parked out front. Numerous place names—Sadat City, the Twenty-sixth of July Street, Talaat Harb Square, the Sixth of October Bridge—are constant ...

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Judy Barsalou


Judy Barsalou is a visiting scholar at the American University in Cairo, where she is conducting research on Egyptian attitudes about justice and accountability in post-Mubarak Egypt.  Her career includes two stints with the Ford Foundation, first as a Program Officer in the Foundation’s New York and Cairo offices and subsequently as Regional Representative for the Middle East and North Africa. Judy has also served as the Vice President of the Grant and Fellowship Program at the United States Institute of Peace; Executive Director of the Middle East Research and Information Project, which publishes Middle East Report; Director of Academic Programs at the Institute of Governmental Affairs, the University of California, Davis; and Program Officer at the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine, the Jerusalem Fund. Her recent publications have focused on prospects for transitional justice in Egypt; the role of memorials in social reconstruction and transitional justice; the challenges of teaching history in societies emerging from violent conflict; and trauma and transitional justice. She holds a Ph.D. in comparative politics from Columbia University.