Department of Sociology, Egyptology and Anthropology
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Brief Biography

Mona Abaza is a professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology, Egyptology and Anthropology at The American University in Cairo. 

Abaza received her BA in political science from The American University in Cairo, Egypt (1982), her MA in sociology from the University of Durham, UK (1986) and her PhD from the University of Bielefeld (1990). In 2009, She was appointed full professor at AUC. From 2009 to 2011, she was professor of Islamology at Lund University, and, in Spring 2014, she worked as a research fellow at Morphomata, Cologne. Abaza formerly served as the chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology and Egyptology at The American University in Cairo from 2007 to 2009, and in Spring 2014. Previously, she had been a visiting scholar at the Institute for South East Asian Studies, Singapore (1990 -1992), Kuala Lumpur (1995 - 1996), l'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris (1994), Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin (1996 - 1997), the International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden (2002 - 2003), the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Wassenaar (2006 - 2007) and the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center (2005).

Recent Publications


  • The Cotton Plantation Remembered: An Egyptian Family
 Story, The American University in Cairo Press, 2013.
  • Twentieth Century Egyptian Art: The Private Collection of Sherwet Shafei, The American University in Cairo Press, 2011.
  • The Changing Consumer Culture of Modern Egypt, Cairo’s Urban Reshaping, Brill/AUC Press, 2006.
  • Debates on Islam and Knowledge in Malaysia and Egypt, Shifting Worlds, Routledge Curzon Press, UK. 2002. 
  • Islamic Education, Perceptions and Exchanges: Indonesian Students in Cairo, Cahier d'Archipel, 23. EHESS, Paris. 1994. 
  • The Changing Image of Women in Rural Egypt, Cairo Papers in Social Science, The American University in Cairo, 1987. 

Recent Articles (2012 - 2013)

  • "On Egypt Public Space and Media." Theory, Culture & Society blog, March 22.

(accessed August 2012).

  • "Segregating Downtown Cairo and the Mohammed Mahmud Street Graffiti." Theory, Culture & Society, October 2012.

  • "Slideshow: Graffiti of Mohammed Mahmud." Theory, Culture & Society blog.

  • "Interview with Mona Abaza on Graffiti and the Egyptian Revolution." Theory, Culture & Society, November 2012

  • "En Attendant Godot: A Waiting Nation" Diplomatische Akademie Wien, April 2012. VIDC's website, see

  • "The War of the Walls: The Ongoing Struggle for Cairo's City Center." Global Dialogue. March 11, 2012

  • The Violence of Egypt's Counter-Revolution." Global Dialogue. Volume 3, Issue 3. May 2013

  • Satire, Laughter and Mourning in Cairo's Graffiti, Orient Institut Studies, Beirut, June 29, 2013
  • "Mourning, Narratives and Interactions with the Martyrs through Graffiti." e-International Relations, October 4, 2013

Chapters in Books

  • "Cairo Diary: Space-Wars, Public Visibility and the Transformation of Public Space in Post-Revolutionary Egypt." Public Space, Media Space.Chris Berry, Janet Harbord, Rachel Moore (eds). Palgrave MacMillan, 2013. p. 88-109.
  • "Cyberspace and the Changing Face of Protest and Public Culture in Egypt." Democratic Transition in the Middle East, Unmaking Power. Larbi Sadiki, Heiko Wimmen, Layla Al Zubaidi (eds). Routledge 2013, p. 87-107.

Photo Reportages on Jadaliyya Website

  • "An Emerging Memorial Space? In Praise of Mohammed Mahmud Street," March 10, 2012

  • "The Buraqs of Tahrir," May 27, 2012

  • "The Revolution´s Barometer," June 12, 2012

  • "The Dramaturgy of a Street Corner," January 25, 2013

  • "Intimidation and Resistance, Imagining Gender in Cairene Graffiti," June 30, 2013 (Appeared also in Ahramonline)


Film by Rudolf Thome: The Art of Narrating the Egyptian Revolution, posted in Jadaliyya. April 18, 2012.

Research Interest

Religious and cultural networks between the Middle East and Southeast Asia, the Hadhrami diaspora in Southeast Asia, and consumer culture and the art market in Egypt