May 1st: Occupy Your Life

On November 4th, 2008, I found myself in a room full of my friends openly weeping. That was the night President Barack Obama was elected to office. I felt I had somewhat of a personal stake in the Obama campaign. That, and I was a little drunk. I don’t claim to be an activist, but I had read his books. I had donated to his campaign back in May of 2007 when it looked like Hillary would win the nomination. Most importantly, I had just gotten back from Egypt, where I had spoken to dozens of Egyptians who liked Obama. I thought his election would send a great signal to the world after 8 years of Bush.

Today, I find myself frustrated. Continue reading

Women in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution and the Concept of Plural Modernities

Last week I wrote a post on the many different ways that people in the Middle East and throughout the formerly-colonized world understand and experience “modernity.” Today, I want to build on that concept by looking at three very different examples of women getting involved in the 2011 Egyptian revolution. Hopefully this exercise will not only help to expand our understanding of the plurality of modernities, but will also introduce some important issues about the Egyptian revolution and feminist consciousness in the Middle East. Continue reading

Persistence of the Peasantry and the Nature of the Modern Age

Kyle J. Anderson_Historiography of the Egyptian Peasant

As promised, here is an example of my work that I want to share with you. Click the link above if you are interested in checking it out. When historians speak of “historiography,” they are talking about the ways that other historians have written about a given subject in the past. For example, whereas early histories of the American Civil War might have focused on Abraham Lincoln’s desire to free the southern slaves because slavery was wrong, later histories have highlighted longer-term cultural trends that gradually led the north and the south in different, antagonistic directions. An historiographical essay studies the changes in how historians portray their subject matter. Smaller versions of these studies are also called “literature reviews.” Continue reading