for autonomous sociology

Surviving Sociology in Egypt and Elsewhere

Mona Abaza interviews me on openDemocracy: There’s a school of thought that says it doesn’t matter whether nations are real, because people behave as if they are. But false beliefs can have very destructive effects: think of witch trials, or the denial of climate science. Belief in nations is dangerous because, since they’re imaginary, you can say whatever you want about them and no one can prove you wrong… 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 →