Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations


Brief Biography

Amina Elbendary is an associate professor (tenured) and chair of Arab and Islamic civilizations at The American University in Cairo, where she teaches courses on early and medieval Islamic history, Muslim political thought and social and cultural history of the Arab Muslim world since 2009. Her publications include a monograph, Crowds and Sultans: Urban Protest in Late Medieval Egypt and Syria. The book explores reports of urban protest and dissent in the cities of Egypt and Syria under the late Mamluk and early Ottoman regimes, and analyzes both the historiography of protest and the intricacies of urban politics in the late medieval period. She is currently working on a research project related to popularization and late medieval historiography. 

Elbendary earned her PhD in oriental studies from Clare Hall, University of Cambridge (2007). Before studying at Cambridge, she studied at AUC, earning an MA in Arabic studies with a specialization in Middle East history for her thesis “Histories of the Muslim Hero: Medieval and Modern Perceptions of al-Zahir Baybars” (1999) and a BA in political science (suma cum laude, 1996). At AUC, she was a recipient of the Riyochi Sasakawa Young Leaders Graduate Fellowship. She was also the winner of the Middle East Medievalists award for best graduate paper on a medieval topic in 1998.

She is co-organizer of the annual history seminar at the Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations, a yearly event that brings together young scholars of Egypt and the Arab world around a chosen theme. Since 2003, she has been a member of the board of trustees of the Women and Memory Forum, an independent research center that focuses on the study of women and gender in Arab cultural history.  She is also an associate scholar of the Skilliter Center for Ottoman Studies, Newnham College, University of Cambridge and a member of the editorial board of the Turkish Historical Review (Brill) and Cairo Papers in Social Sciences (AUC Press).

Research Interests

  • Mamluk Egypt and Syria
  • Social and cultural history of the Arab Middle East
  • Arab-Islamic historiography
  • Medieval and early modern popular culture
  • Islamic political thought


  • Crowds and Sultans: Urban Protest in Late Medieval Egypt and Syria (AUC Press, 2015).
  • “Between Riots and Negotiations. Urban Protest in Late Medieval Egypt and Syria,” Ulrich Haarmann Memorial Lecture, volume 3, ed. Stephan Conermann (Berlin: EBVerlag, 2012).
  •  “Muqaddima li kitāb Qāsim Amīn Tahrīr al-mar’ah wa kitāb Tal’at Ḥarb Tarbiyat al-mar’ah wa al-ḥijāb,” in Qāsim Amīn Tahrīr al-mar’ah wa Tal’at Ḥarb Tarbiyat al-mar’ah wa al-ḥijāb,  (Alexandria: Library of Alexandria, 2012).
  • “The historiography of protest in late Mamluk and early Ottoman Egypt and Syria,” International Institute of Asian Studies Newsletter, 43 (Spring 2007). 
  • al-Sa‘di, Huda and al-Bindāri, Amīna. Al-Awqāf fi sutūr wa suwar (Cairo: Women and Memory Forum, 2006). 
  • “The Worst of Times: Crisis Management and al-shidda al-`uzma,” in Money, Land and Trade: An Economic History of the Muslim Mediterranean, ed. Nelly Hanna (London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2002).
  • “The Sultan, The Tyrant and the Hero: Changing Medieval Perceptions of al-Zahir Baybars,”Mamluk Studies Review 5 (2001).

Courses Taught

  • ARIC 2346: Survey of Arab History
  • ARIC 3343: Birth of the Muslim community and the Rise of the Arab Caliphates, 600-945
  • ARIC 3321: Zawiyas, Harems, Coffee shops: Everyday Life in the Pre-Modern Middle East
  • ARIC 3353: Islamic Political Thought
  • ARIC 3397: Sel. Topics: Green History of the Middle East
  • ARIC 3397: Sel. Topics: Protest and Dissent in Middle East History
  • ARIC 5135: Sel. Topics in ME History: Seminar on Protest and Dissent in the Pre-Modern ME
  • ARIC 5135: Se. Topics in ME History: Seminar on State and Society in Mamluk Egypt and Syria


AUC New Cairo