El Mahdi

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Hall
Associate Professor
Department of Political Science
t 1899


Brief Biography

Rabab El Mahdi is associate professor of political science at The American University in Cairo. She earned her PhD from McGill University in Montreal, where she wrote her dissertation on the impact of neo-liberal economic reconstruction on changing patterns of state-civil society relations in Egypt and Bolivia. Her field of specialization is comparative political economy and development, with a focus on Latin America and the Middle East. El Mahdi’s research interests cover the areas of state-civil society relations, social movements and resistance, as well as the political economy of social policy. Before joining AUC, she worked for several developmental organizations, including NGOs and UN agencies.


  • Doctorate of Philosophy in comparative politics of developing countries, 2005, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
  • Master of Arts in political science, 1998, The American University in Cairo, Egypt.
  • Bachelor of Arts in political science, 1996, The American University in Cairo, Egypt.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Development.
  • Seminar: Special Topics in Political Science.
  • Regime Change and Democratization.



Political Manipulation? Civil Society and the State in Egypt and Bolivia, Brill Publications.

Edited Volume

Ed., Arab Spring in Egypt: Revolution and Beyond, The American University in Cairo Press.

Book Chapter

“Against Marginalization: Workers, Youth and Class in the 25th of January Revolution,” Zed Press.


“Orientalizing the Egyptian Revolution,” Jadalyyia

“Egyptian Women,” Van Guardia

In the Media

One-hour interview/documentary, Global Alternatives, 2011

Bi-monthly article, El-Shorouk Newspaper, 2011

Interviews, BBC, NPR, 2011

Interviews and news commentary, various channels, 2011

Featured on documentary “Egypt: A Test Case for Democracy”, CNN, 2005

Featured on Debate “New Media and Democracy”, BBC World Service, 2007

Featured on documentary “ Blogging on the Nile”, British Channel 4, 2006

Research Interest
  • Comparative political economy of Latin American and the Middle East (state-civil society relations)
  • Social movements and resistance
  • Women's movements
  • Democratic transitions