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Photo : Fayyoum, 2014. Egypt’s Presidential Elections @Yasmine Moataz Ahmed

Farmers, Politics and the ‘State’ in a Changing Egypt - Séminaire avec Yasmine Moataz Ahmed 

Lundi 13 novembre 2023, à 14h, à la MMSH (Aix-en-Provence), en salle André Raymond, le séminaire de recherche de l'équipe Sciences sociales du contemporain accueillera Yasmine Moataz Ahmed pour une intervention intitulée "Moving through Tangles: Farmers, Politics and the ‘State’ in a Changing Egypt". Séance en anglais et uniquement en présentiel.

In this talk, I investigate how rural dwellers have addressed the contradictions and tensions associated with a set of neoliberal experiments imposed on their lives since the early 1990s. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in and around the village of al-Ab`adiyya Wālī Mizār in Fayyūm from August 2011 until 2017, I trace the lived experiences of rural dwellers who, although skeptical about the transformative potential of the 2011 uprisings, individually and collectively claimed citizenship rights. I chart the multiple registers that they use to frame and make political claims to the ‘state’ in a changing political landscape–for example, texts and tenets of Islam, national laws and constitutional articles, human rights declarations and international covenants, agrarian Marxism and labor rights. While such registers may seem out-of-sync, I argue that they constitute a historically produced repertoire drawn from a multitude of sources to which they were exposed as economic liberalization intensified. I further claim that the unintended consequences of Egypt’s adverse incorporation into the world economy familiarized citizens with expert knowledge, which they mixed with other forms of vernacular knowledge to (re)position themselves vis-à-vis the ‘state’ in their quest for rights. Ultimately, I contribute to the three-fold ‘unfinished project’ of citizenship after orientalism through: undoing existing binaries, uncovering acts through which people come to constitute themselves as political subjects and re-inventing a hybrid epistemological approach to citizenship research. 

Yasmine Moataz Ahmed is an assistant professor of anthropology and sociology at the American University in Cairo (AUC). Her research interests lie at the intersection of political anthropology, environmental justice, visual cultures, critical race studies and Middle East Studies.

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