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Rabab El Mahdi

  • Position: Associate Professor
  • Department: Department of Political Science
  • Email: [email protected]
Brief Biography

Rabab El Mahdi is an associate professor of political science at The American University in Cairo (AUC). 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 Non-governmental organizations and United Nation agencies. Previously she taught at Yale University and was a recipient of a number of fellowships at Columbia University, the University of Chicago, and the Rockefeller Bellagio Center Residency. She is also the recipient of a number of research grants from Carnegie Corporation of New York and The Rockefeller Brothers Foundation. Currently, she leads AUC's research project, Alternative Policy Solutions (APS). She serves on the boards of a number of civil society and professional organizations, including the Arab Political Science Network (APSN).

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


Political Manipulation? Civil Society and the State in Egypt and Bolivia. Brill Publications, 2012

Edited Volumes

  • Arab Spring in Egypt: Revolution and Beyond. The American University in Cairo Press, 2012
  • Egypt: The Moment of Change. Zed Press, 2009

Book Chapters

  • “Egypt: A Decade of Ruptures” in Taking to the Streets, Eds. Ellen Lust and Lina El-Khatib.  Washington: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014
  • “ Against Marginalization: Youth, Class, and Revolution” in Marginality and Exclusion in Egypt and the Middle East, Eds. Ray Bush and Habib Ayeb. London: Zed Press, 2012

Selected Articles

  • "The Failure of the Regime or the Demise of the State?". International Journal of Middle East Studies 50 (2), 2018
  • “Beyond the ‘Woman Question’ in the Egyptian Revolution” with Lila Abu- Lughoud. Feminist Studies 37 (3), 2011
  • “Labor Protests in Egypt: Causes and Meanings” Review of African Political Economy, 38(129), 2011
  • “Does Politicial Islam Impede Gender-Based Mobilization?” Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, 11(3-4), 2010
  • “Anti-Globalization Movement” in Encyclopedia of Political Science.  2010
  • “Enough! Egypt’s Quest for Democracy” Comparative Political Studies, 42(3), 2009
  • 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
  • Introduction to Development
  • Seminar: Special Topics in Political Science
  • Regime Change and Democratization

Interviewed by and featured in the New York Times, BBC, NPR, British Channel 4, CNN, and Le Monde among others. Wrote op-eds for El-Shourok Newspaper (Egypt), Al-Saffir Al-Arabii (Lebanon), and the Guardian.