Thursday, September 5, 2013

Egypt in Flux

Munk School of Global Affairs invites you to a lecture based on Adel Iskandar's latest book Egypt in Flux: Essays on an Unfinished Revolution on Wednesday, September 4, 2013, 4:00-5:30 P.M. at the Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility, 1 Devonshire Place.

No chapter in Egypt’s contemporary history has been more turbulent and unpredictable than the past three years. In a very short period of time, the Arab world’s most populous country has seen a transition from rule by an iron-fisted dictatorship to a populist uprising to military omnipotence to Islamist electoral victory to constitutional turmoil to societal polarization. Egypt’s iconic revolution has been neither victorious nor defeated. Egypt in Flux is a collection of essays on the political, social, economic, and cultural dimensions of change in the country’s ongoing revolutionary current. From the conditions that precipitated the uprising and the eruption of national dissent to the derailing of the revolution, the author reflects on the pressing topics of the day while being mindful of the counterrevolutionary movements and the continuation of the Revolution. From discussions about the illusion of fair and free elections, social inequities, and labor disparity to examinations of religion, sports, literature, and sexuality, the essays in this valuable and intellectually stimulating volume chart both the broad lines and the nuances of an unfinished revolution.

Adel Iskandar  is a Canadian scholar of media and international communication at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He is the author, co-author, and editor of several works including Al-Jazeera: The Story of the Network that is Rattling Governments and Redefining Modern Journalism and Mediating the Arab Uprisings (Tadween Publishing). Iskandar is a frequent commentator on international media and Middle Eastern politics.

Editorial Reviews:

“In essays spanning two tumultuous years, Iskandar captures the rapidly shifting moods of Egypt in revolution. After exploring the hypnotic forms of popular culture under the old regime and the euphoria accompanying its sudden collapse, he shows how, amid the divisions and disenchantments that followed, historic experiments in popular democracy continue to unfold.”-Timothy Mitchell, professor and chair of the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Columbia University “Iskandar’s work is very important because it gives an overview of the dynamics of change in Egypt in a manner that could only have been accessible to Egyptians, living in Egypt, and well read in Arabic. In other words, he allows the outsider to see, understand and think about the struggle, the winners, and the normal person as both a winner and loser as perceived and discussed by every Egyptian in Egypt.”-Maye Kassem, professor of political science, American University in Cairo

“This book is an eye- and mind-popping little tour de force of writing and analysis that puts the reader at the heart of the core conflicts that have plagued Egypt in the late Mubarak era and through the revolutionary period, and will continue to challenge society for the foreseeable future. Each of Iskandar’s essays offers inspiring insights into issues such as corruption, religious intolerance, popular culture and the asymmetries of power that will enlighten the educated lay reader while forcing ‘experts’ to rethink their assumptions about the revolution and its possible futures. Egypt in Flux is a great read that will be on everyone’s revolutionary reading list for years to come.”-Mark LeVine, professor of history, University of California, Irvine

“While reading Adel Iskandar’s book, I relived our revolution against the Mubarak dictatorship, as we are living today our revolution against Morsi’s dictatorship in the name of God. Everyone should read this book and join the struggle for freedom, justice and dignity for all.”-Nawal El Saadawi

“One of Egypt’s leading English-language columnists and political analysts, Adel Iskandar enjoys an eloquence and creativity shared by few of his peers. And here he provides us with an indispensable compendium of his thoughts onEgypt’s fraught democratic transition, taking up issues ranging from the manifold origins of sectarian strife to the struggles of the post-revolutionary independent media. In reading Egypt In Flux, one stands alongside Adel as he makes sense of the tectonic shifts underway in Egypt, from the final days of the Mubarak dictatorship to the height of the Tahrir sit-in and the more recent doubts about the revolution’s resilience. There is no writer in English with whom I would rather take this journey, and no collection of essays that better captures both the elation and the anguish that has punctuated Egypt’s revolution.”-Paul Sedra, associate professor of history, Simon Fraser University

“We are familiar with the cliché associations made linking Egypt to history, ancient history. To this list, Adel Iskandar suggests an alternative: Egyptiansmaking their own history. The essays in this book are attuned to the revolutionary seed in each moment and are a testament to the author’s keen eye. Iskandar dispels the idea that Egyptian society is-or ever was-passive and quiescent. In his account, Egypt is Cromer’s nightmare: loud and boisterous, beautiful and in motion.”-Elliott Colla, associate professor, Arabic and Islamic studies, Georgetown University

“In one sense, this collection of essays reviews a story familiar to people all over the world: the sense of political despair in Egypt giving birth to a revolution that surprised its own organizers followed by a series of critical, exhilarating, disappointing, and vexatious moments in which contending groups sought to bend the revolutionary trajectory. But if the broad outlines of the story may seem familiar, Iskandar assembles here contemporary writings in which expert analysis is brought alive by a sense of history, a grounding inEgyptian society, and a depth of cultural understanding. This allows him to communicate critical facets of that period that eluded all but the closest observers.”-Nathan Brown, professor of political science and international affairs, George Washington University

“This book achieves the impossible: It pins down the ever-convoluted moments of transformation in recent Egyptian history and describes them in memorizing detail and depth. In the most vivid and eloquent prose, Adel Iskandar captures the Egyptian political, social, and religious scene on the eve of, during, and after the January 25th uprisings. This nuanced account of a densely engaged eyewitness goes beyond the simplistic views dominating Western media on the uprisings, and adds much complexity to understanding the rapidly unfolding realities in and behind Tahrir Square. It is a great delight to see these articles now collected together in one book. Reading this book will certainly help many others, who either did or did not witness the Egyptian revolution, to live through its tense emotions and intellectual predicaments once and again.”-Zeinab Abul-Magd, assistant professor of History, Oberlin College and the American University in Cairo

“For those of us committed to the cause of Arab Revolutions, the extraordinary work of Adel Iskandar has become a measure of judicious assessment of the politics of liberation ahead of masses of millions of people now at the vanguard of a world-historic liberation movement from North Africa to Western Asia. Egypt In Flux: Essays on an Unfinished Revolution brings together some of the most insightful and pathbreaking ideas that Iskandar has written in the two critical years between 2010 and 2012 when Egypt went through the revolutionary convulsion that has forever changed the face of history. I can scarce think of any other contemporary thinker whose ideas are a more accurate barometer of where we are in the course of the Egyptian revolution and where the Arab world is headed in these critical and liberating years.”-Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University, author of The Arab Spring: The End of Postcolonialism

“Egypt in Flux is a first-rate collection of essays by a thoughtful and thorough researcher of the country. Iskandar not only examines the antecedents of theJanuary 25 uprising but also cogently documents its revolutionary effects and aftermath. Through the individual essays, readers watch Egypt’s historical process unfold. Whether looking at important political issues such as electoral performances and constitutional struggles or social issues such as gender equality, sectarian relations, or persisting patriarchy, Iskandar provides an engaging entry point to the seeming endless debates that now consume the nation. The picture he paints is sobering and revealing.”-Joshua Stacher, Kent State University, author of Adaptable Autocrats: Regime Power inEgypt and Syria

“Few writers know contemporary Egypt like Adel Iskandar. Egypt inFlux expertly captures the events of the Egyptian Revolution like no other book available today. It is essential reading for understanding the complexities of the Egyptian street.”-Ziad Fahmy, Cornell University

“Insightful and piercing essays that mirror the youthful, subversive, and often humorous spirit of the Egyptian Revolution.”-Dina Shehata, Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies

“In the best traditions of scholarship, Adel Iskandar displays a deep empathy towards the most marginalized in a revolutionary struggle that is ongoing. From remarkably prescient writings before the January 25 uprising to a critical interpretation of its aftermath, Egypt in Flux is a unique journey throughEgypt’s political, social and cultural landscape.”-Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Democracy Now! Correspondent

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