for autonomous sociology

Sociology and the History of Islam

Here’s a video of a 40-minute introductory talk I gave on the Qur’an and the early history of Islam, on 30 January 2013 at the National University of Singapore. The talk was part of a lecture series called ‘Introduction to the Study of the Contemporary Middle East’, organised by the university’s Middle East Institute, where I was then a post-doc.  I didn’t try to do anything more than summarise the current state of scholarship on the topic, including the main areas of disagreement among specialists. Read more →

Nationalist Tastes and Intellectual Struggles in Egypt

This is a talk I gave at the annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association in New Orleans on 12 October 2013, in the panel ‘The Politics of Taste in the Late Ottoman Empire and Egypt’. In under 15 minutes, it outlines the main argument of my PhD thesis and gives a few examples. Here’s the abstract: In the early 20th century, Egyptian effendi intellectuals used nationalism to introduce new tastes in literature, cinema, music, journalism, and other cultural practices into Egypt. Read more →