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Mai Serhan

Rules of Engagement: Documentary Filmmaking According to Tahani Rached

[Tahani Rached filming Nafaas Tawil (Deep, Long Breath). Image courtesy of the filmmaker.]

Tahani Rached’s latest documentary film, Nafass Tawil (Deep, Long Breath), premiered in September at the American University in Cairo as part of the International Summer Academy’s Aesthetics and Politics: Counter-Narratives, New Publics, and the Role of Dissent in the Arab World, a research program organized by the Center for Translation Studies and the Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien.   

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Huda Lutfi: The Artist and the Historical Moment

[Huda Lutfi

Huda Lutfi is a cultural historian. She is also a visual artist; but if you want to cut through classifications and simplifications, if you want to get to the heart of who she is and what she does, nothing reveals more about this historian turned artist than her home address: Champollion Street, in the heart of Downtown Cairo. At this address, Lutfi has come to inhabit a front row seat before Egypt’s most significant historical and cultural moments. If the walls of that ...

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The Politics of Image: The Bedouins of South Sinai

[American tourists in Sharm el-Sheikh, Sinai, Egypt, 1971. Image by AP Photo.]

They live within Egyptian borders, they carry Egyptian identification cards, some of them even serve in the Egyptian army, but to the majority of Egyptians, the Bedouins of the Sinai Peninsula remain the widely enigmatic “others,” if not exotic creatures of the desert then villainous outlaws of the steppes. To the tourist, the Bedouin conjures up a tent that flutters in the wind, huts lining up the coastline, sage tea by the fireplace, and a huge tray of mensif, their ...

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Mai Serhan


Mai Serhan is a graduate student of Arabic Literature in the Department of Arab and Islamic Civilization, and a research assistant at the Center for Translation Studies at the American University in Cairo.