2020/ 2021

Amro Ali

EUME Fellow of the Arab-German Young Academy

Alexandria and the Mobilisation of the Public Imagination

is a writer and sociologist at the American University in Cairo, a member of the Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and a former fellow at Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB). He is currently a visiting fellow at the Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien (EUME). He received his doctorate from the University of Sydney which examined the role of Alexandria’s historical imaginaries and the changing public spaces. His research interests include Arab public spheres, Mediterranean studies, global studies, cities, citizenship, exile, technological modernity, and sociological-philosophy. His work can be found at 

Alexandria and the Mobilisation of the Public Imagination

In this book project, Amro Ali explores the repositioning of Egypt’s social geography, post-revolutionary developments, and political trajectory away from Cairo, and towards Alexandria, that can enhance our understanding of the sudden flourishing and eventual “diminishing” of public life. The project employs the works of Hannah Arendt, Václav Havel, and Byung-Chul Han to understand the relationship between the human condition, memory, and a second city over the past number of decades. It asks two main questions: What does it mean when citizens are forced to live in the shadow of, real or imagined, ancestral giants and golden ages? How does a “fallen” and second city shape the worldview and insecurities of its residents? These questions bear relation to inherent themes in contemporary Alexandria that are further examined which include political branding by elites, role of mobs and publics, 2011 revolutionary discourse, notions of civic utopia, post-2011 violence, and allusions to the coming apocalypse of the polis.