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Omnia El Shakry

Omnia El Shakry

Associate Professor

One Shields Avenue
Davis , Ca 95616


Professor El Shakry received her B.A. from the American University in Cairo, with a focus on the social sciences. After returning to the U.S. she received her M.A. in Middle East Studies from N.Y.U., and then her Ph.D. from Princeton University’s History department. Her forthcoming project is titled, The Arabic Freud: Psychoanalysis and Islam in Modern Egypt. For more information:

El Shakry is a founding member of the Middle East/ South Asia Studies Program and is affiliated with the Cultural Studies and Critical Theory Programs on campus. In the summer of 2013 she directed an NEH Summer Institute for School Teachers, "Roots of the Arab Spring." She recently co-organized an International symposium at UCSC Unfixed Itineraries: Film and Visual Culture from Arab Worlds.

Research Interests

History of the Modern Middle East (especially Egypt); Modern European and Arab Intellectual History; History of Colonialism; Gender and Sexuality in the Modern Middle East; Visual Arts, Aesthetics, and Politics in the Contemporary Middle East.



Gender and Sexuality in Islam: Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies (Ed.) Volume I: Gender and the Ethical Subject; Volume II: Gender, Empire, and Nation; Volume III: Sexualities, Intimacy, and the Body; Volume IV: Gender, Sexuality, and Representation (London and New York: Routledge Press, 2016, forthcoming). 

The Great Social Laboratory: Subjects of Knowledge in Colonial and Postcolonial Egypt (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007.


"'History without Documents': The Vexed Archives of Decolonization in the Middle East," The American Historical Review 120, no.3 (June 2015): 920-934. 

"The Arabic Freud: The Unconscious and the Modern Subject," Modern Intellectual History 11, no. 1 (2014): 89-118.

"Queer Theory and Middle East Studies: Curiosities of Middle East Studies in Queer Times," co-authored with Paul Amar, International Journal of Middle East Studies 45, no. 2 (2013): 331-35.

“Rethinking Entrenched Binaries in Middle East Gender and Sexuality Studies,” International Feminist Journal of Politics, 2012.

"Youth as Peril and Promise: The Emergence of Adolescent Psychology in Postwar Egypt," International Journal of Middle East Studies 43, no. 4 (2011): 591-610. Arabic translation.

“Imagining ‘the Political’ Otherwise,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 43, no. 3 (2011): 384-85.

"Egypt's Three Revolutions: The Force of History Behind the Popular Uprising" (in English, French, and Arabic), Transeuropeennes: International Journal of Critical Thought, February 21, 2011, Originally published in Jadaliyya, February 6, 2011.

"The Body Doubled: Artistic Strategies, the Body, and Public Space" (in English and Arabic), in Indicated by Signs, edited by Aleya Hamza and Edit Molnar (Goethe Institute, Cairo and Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn: Cairo, 2010), 64-81.

“Dense Objects and Sentient Viewings: Contemporary Art Criticism and the Middle East” (in English and Turkish), in What Keeps Mankind Alive? The Texts: Catalog for the 11th International Istanbul Biennial, edited by What, How, and for Whom/WHW and Ilkay Balic, (Istanbul, Turkey: IKSV, Istanbul Kultur Sanat Vakfi, 2009), 381-409.

"The Hidden Location: Art and Politics in the Work of Hassan Khan," Third Text Asia: Special Issue on Arts, Scholarship and the Arab/Muslim World, Volume 1, Number 2 (2009), 71-85.

"Artistic Sovereignty in the Shadow of Post-Socialism: Egypt's 20th Annual Youth Salon" e-flux journal 7 (July 2009).

"Cairo as Capital of Socialist Revolution?" in Cairo Cosmopolitan: Politics, Culture, and Urban Space in the New Middle East, edited by Diane Singerman and Paul Amar (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press), 2006.

"Barren Land and Fecund Bodies: The Emergence of Population Discourse in Interwar Egypt," International Journal of Middle East Studies 37, no. 3 (2005): 351-372.

"Science: Medicalization and the Female Body," in Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, Volume 3: Family, Body, Sexuality and Health, ed. S. Joseph, et. al. (Leiden: Brill), 2005, pp. 353-359.

"Schooled Mothers and Structured Play: Child-Rearing in Turn-of-the-Century Egypt," in Remaking Women: Feminism and Modernity in the Middle East, ed. Lila Abu-Lughod (Princeton: Princeton University Press and Cairo: American University in Cairo Press), 1998.

Course History

Lecture courses: The World Since 1850 (HIS 10C); Colonialism and the Making of the Modern World (HIS 110A); Modern Middle East, 1750-1914 (HIS 193A); The Middle East in the Twentieth Century (HIS 193B); Comparative Modernity in the Middle East/South Asia (MSA 180).

Seminars, Undergraduate: Colonialism and its Discontents (HIS 102X); Gender and Sexuality in the Modern Middle East (HIS 102R).

Seminars, Graduate: Modern Middle East History: Problems and Methods (HIS 201M); Genealogy, Islam, and Modernity (201M); World History: Approaches and Methods (HIS 201X); Critical Theory for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies (HIS 201W).