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Egypt in Transition

27th Social Research Conference April 12, 2012

This conference aims to shed light on the origins of the events in Tahrir Square, the deposing of President Mubarak, the changes currently under way, and the future of Egypt and the Middle East.

"Egypt in Transition" will also be the 14th issue in the Social Research Transitions Series, which began in 1990 by examining the transitions in Eastern and Central Europe following the collapse of communism. Since then, Social Research has explored transitions in South Africa, China, sub-Saharan Africa, and India. Social Research: An International Quarterly is the flagship journal of The New School for Social Research.

This conference is made possible by generous support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the New School Office of the Provost.

To order the related issue of Social Research: An International Quarterly:



Thursday, April 12, 2012

Roundtable 1: Roots and Character of the Egyptian Revolution

Hazem Fahmy, economist and writer, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Mohammed Tabishat, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, American University in Cairo

Yasmine El-Rashidi, journalist in Cairo; former Middle East correspondent for the Wall Street Journal; New York Review of Bookscontributor

Joe Stork, deputy director, Middle East and North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch

Moderator: Juan Cole, Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History, University of Michigan; author of Engaging the Muslim World (2009)

Roundtable 2: Possible Outcomes of the Egyptian Revolution

Juan Cole, Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History, University of Michigan; author of Engaging the Muslim World (2009)

Atef Said, human rights lawyer; author of Torture Is a Crime against Humanity (2008)

Nathan Brown, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University

Samer Soliman, Associate Professor of Political Economy, American University in Cairo

Moderator: Talal Asad, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center

Keynote Address: Has The Arab Spring Been Hijacked?

Saad Eddin Ibrahim, founder of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies and trustee of the Arab Democracy Foundation

Moderator: Talal Asad, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center


BIOGRAPHIES Speakers, Panelists, and Moderators Nathan Brown is a professor of Political Science and International Affairs in the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University. Brown is a distinguished scholar and author of four well-received books on Arab politics. Brown brings his special expertise on Islamist movements, Palestinian politics, and Arab law and constitutionalism to the Endowment. Brown’s most recent book, Resuming Arab Palestine, presents research on Palestinian society and governance after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority. His current work focuses on Islamist movements and their role in politics in the Arab world. Juan R. I. Cole is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. For three decades, he has sought to put the relationship of the West and the Muslim world in historical context. His most recent book is Engaging the Muslim World and he also recently authored Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East. He has been a regular guest on PBS's Lehrer News Hour, and has also appeared on ABC Nightly News, Nightline, the Today Show, Charlie Rose, Anderson Cooper 360, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Democracy Now! and many others. He has also given many radio and press interviews. Yasmine El Rashidi, a former Middle East correspondent for theWall Street Journal, has written for the New York Review of Books,Washington Post, Newsday, Ms, Bidoun, Chronicle of Higher Education, and Monocle, among other publications. A collection of her writings on the Egyptian uprising, The Battle for Egypt, was published in May, 2011 by NYRB. She lives in Cairo. Hazem Fahmy, an economist and writer, is the chief of the Institutional Stakeholder and General Support Unit of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA). Saad Eddin Ibrahim is founder of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies and a trustee of the Arab Democracy Foundation. Ibrahim is credited with playing a leading role in the revival of Egypt's contemporary research-based civil society movement. Dr. Ibrahim writes a weekly column that appears in Egypt's main independent paper, al-Masry al-Youm, and also appears in numerous other papers throughout the Arab world. For most of his professional career, Dr. Ibrahim was a professor of sociology at the American University in Cairo. He taught sociology at Indiana's DePauw University from 1967 to 1974. During the academic year 2008-2009, he lived in the United States as a professor of political sociology at Indiana University and as a visiting fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University. From 2009-2011 he was resident at Drew University as the Wallerstein Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict. In 2006, Dr. Ibrahim was awarded the Ion Ratiu Democracy Lecture Prize at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where he previously had been a public policy scholar. In 2003, Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim was recipient of The New School’s University in Exile Award. Samer Soliman is an associate professor of political economy at the Americam University in Cairo. Dr. Soliman's main interest is the Egyptian state, its resources, its public policies, its role (or absence of role) in economic development, and its relationship to society. In addition, he has a rising interest in the democratic transition of Egypt, with its different aspects like the "social infrastructure of political change," the role of opposition, the state of the parliament and parliamentary elections, the sectarian question, etc. Before joining AUC, Dr. Soliman worked as affiliated researcher in CEDEJ (Centre d'etudes et de documentations economiques, juridiques et sociales) and worked as a journalist in Al-Ahram Hebdo newspaper. Dr. Soliman is author of Strong Regime, Weak State: The Fiscal Crisis and Political Change in Egypt under Mubarak (in Arabic). Atef Said is a human rights lawyer who practiced human rights law in Egypt from 1995 to 2004. He is author of Torture in Egypt: A Judicial Reality (2000), published by the Human Rights Center for the Assistance of Prisoners, and Torture Is a Crime Against Humanity (2008), published by the Hisham Mubarak Law Center. Both organizations are based in Cairo. Joe Stork is deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa division, is a general expert on human rights issues in the region. Before joining Human Rights Watch in 1996, Stork co-founded the Middle East Research & Information Project (MERIP) and served as chief editor of Middle East Report, its bimonthly magazine. Author of numerous books and widely published articles on the Middle East, he has lectured widely at universities and public forums around the world. Stork served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkey and holds an MA in International Affairs/Middle East Studies from Columbia University. Mohammed Tabishat is an assistant professor of anthropology in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, and Egyptology (SAPE) at the American University in Cairo. He has been writing about the "Arab spring" on, an Arabic/English website run by Arab intellectuals concerned with political and cultural criticism. He was educated at the University of Cambridge. About the Organizers Talal Asad holds the title Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center. At the Graduate Center since 1998, Asad is a sociocultural anthropologist of international stature specializing in the anthropology of religion, with special interest in the Middle East and Islam. He earned his MA at Edinburgh University and BLitt and DPhil at Oxford. Before coming to the United States to teach at The New School, he had taught at Oxford and the universities of Khartoum, Sudan, and Hull, England. In the 1979, he was a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley. He was a member of the New School graduate faculty from 1989 to 1995, when he joined the faculty of The Johns Hopkins University. Arien Mack, the Alfred and Monette Marrow Professor of Psychology at The New School for Social Research, has been the editor of Social Research since 1970 and is the founder and director of the Social Research conference series and all other Social Research projects. She teaches and manages a research laboratory investigating visual perception. Her publications include more than 60 articles, a book, Inattentional Blindness (1998), and three edited volumes (issues of Social Research republished as books by university presses): Death and the American Experience (1973), Technology and the Rest of Culture (1997), and Humans and Other Animals (1995).

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